An Open Letter to My High School Self

At this very moment in time, high school is the most important thing in your life. Right now, your biggest preoccupations are prom and AP testing. College is a mere dot on the horizon. You've pushed all thoughts of college to the back of your mind, and you don't plan on surfacing them anytime soon.

Yeah, you know where you're going. You know what your major will be. But everything else about college is ambiguous. You don't know if you'll even like the major you've picked. You don't know who your friends will be. You don't know if you can handle the independence and freedom that college entails. All of this terrifies you.

Everyone goes into college with a different mindset. Some people are nervous. Others are excited. However, after move in day, we all end up in the same place: a bunch of freshmen wandering the streets in packs of 20, completely oblivious to what we got ourselves into.

Considering the fact that I haven't completed a full year of college, I can't really call myself a "college expert." The biggest piece of college advice I can give you is get involved on campus. There are so many opportunities to meet new people and make new memories, no matter how big your campus is. Snatch them up. Say yes to trying new things (unless, you know, it's something dangerous or illegal). By doing this, you're making your campus more than just a school. You're making your campus your home.

One thing you learn in college is that high school is a bubble. In high school, you become so accustomed to your everyday routine that you don't realize what you're missing. The best thing you can do right now is break out of that bubble. Talk to people you usually don't notice. Join a club or participate in an activity you never dreamed you would enjoy. In college you can be whoever you want to be. Start early in high school. Don't limit yourself.

I wish I could turn back the clock and show you everything that will change within the course of a year. A lot of people fear change, and it's a completely reasonable fear. In college you will change. That's a given. Your friends from home will change. Your relationship with your parents will change. Sometimes all these changes can be overwhelming. All you can do is accept the fact that change is inevitable. Keep an open mind and realize that usually things change for the better.

While a lot of things may change in the transition from high school to college, there is one constant. Your sole purpose on campus is simple: you are here to receive an education. End of story. Don't let anyone or anything jeopardize your education. A big part of being an adult is finding the happy medium between work and play. If you want to go out and have a good time, no one will criticize you. Just make sure you keep up with your academics.

The most crucial thing I've learned in my eight months as a college student is that you have to stay true to yourself. I know this is the cheesiest line in the world, so let me explain. You are the true master of yourself. You know what you deserve, so don't settle for less. Don't settle for the first thing that is thrown your way. Whether it is a potential internship, job opportunity, or even a relationship, if you have shaky feelings about it, it's probably not meant to be. The best opportunities emerge when you step outside your comfort zone.

At the end of the day, you're still in high school. Enjoy your last two months. Have fun at prom. Good luck on your AP tests. Just remember this when move in day rolls around in four months: you can do it.

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