There’s no doubt that high school is a big moment in our lives. For most of us, we see high school as the triumphant ending to all the years that were spent in elementary and middle school. We’re finally the “big dogs” in our town, and being in high school, we’re that much closer to becoming an adult. It may seem like you have finally found your perfect group of friends and flawless study techniques, and you may even finally feel like you’ve gotten the hang of this whole “life” thing.
However, high school must eventually come to an end. With college around the corner, there’s bound to be some concerns. We know, it’s scary to think that you’ll have to break away from the comfort of your high school life, but you may just find that college is even better. If you’re anything like us, you loved every moment of being in high school and may even feel like you don’t ever want to leave, but we assure you, new things are not always bad. Here are some tips on how to hit the ground running when it comes to college.
1. Search for new clubs and organizations
Looking into organizations offered at your future college is a great way to get excited about your new college life. Not only do clubs and organizations offer amazing experiences, but they’re undoubtedly one of the best ways to meet new people.
You’ll soon realize that the closest friendships come from the organizations you join. We all know how daunting the thought of having to make new friends may be, but researching some new organizations can get you excited to meet new people with similar interests. In college, you’ll find that the opportunities are endless, and from sororities to beekeeping societies to rock climbing teams, there’s something for everybody.
“I talked to my future roommate, looked into new opportunities at my school, and just trusted I would make the best of what was to come,” says Autumn Dube, a recent graduate of Emmanuel College. “I think it's important to keep an open mind no matter what new adventures you take on.”
We couldn’t agree more. Having a positive mindset coming into college is one of the most important steps to having an amazing experience, even if the college you chose was not your first choice. It’s absolutely true that you get what you put into your experience.
2. Plan out your perfect dorm room
One of the most exciting things about college is that you finally get to live on your own or with a roommate. Either way, you finally get to have a place to call your own that's free from the reins of your parents. With all the stress that comes with leaving high school behind, making plans for the perfect dorm room or apartment is a great way to get excited for your new life away from home.
“I think that by the time you reach high school, you feel like you’ve finally got it all figured out," says Julia Le, a junior at the University of Texas at Dallas. “Then you have to go your separate ways to college and you feel like you’re kind of thrown into the world. However, one thing I was really excited about was being able to decorate my own dorm room. At home, my room was still filled with decorations from my childhood so I was super excited to have a fresh canvas.”
No matter what you decide to do with your new living space, make sure to keep in mind that this is the place that you’ll be spending much of your time in for the school year. This living space should be somewhere you’d be excited to come back home to. Also, it should be a great reflection of who you are and what you like. Just remember that college is a fresh new start, so when decorating, don’t be afraid to be your completely goofy self.
3. Take some time to reflect
Lastly, it’s always important to just spend some quality time with yourself. Take this time to reflect on what you loved so much about high school and what your goals are for college. Ask yourself what made high school so amazing and how you could transform those experiences into college experiences.
“In high school my life revolved around cross country and track,” says Molly Crum, a recent James Madison University graduate. “I found it important in college to find a balance—I joined the club cross country team to continue doing something I loved, but also joined other organizations that I never explored in high school. I think it's important to not try to recreate your high school experience exactly and be open to unique things your college offers.”
You don’t always have to leave the things you love behind. Of course, we don’t want you to try to recreate the high school experience; this is a whole new chapter. However, if you loved your friends in high school, get excited about meeting new friends. If you loved the high school football games, find organizations dedicated to hyping up school spirit. There are always ways to experience the things you’ve loved in high school in new and enriching ways.
High school will always hold a special place in our hearts. It marked the end of our adolescent years and the beginning of our adult years. It was the chapter of our lives that witnessed our awkward transformation into adulthood. It was a time that held great memories and the place where we seemed to learn the most, not only about school, but also about ourselves.
It’s important to realize that this is just one chapter of our lives. The future holds so many more life-changing experiences that will impact us in more ways than we can imagine. Keeping a positive mindset is almost always the cure to facing the world head on. Don't worry, if we can do it, there’s no doubt you will be able to as well. We’re all cheering for you!