A friend once tried to explain to me that this was a bittersweet time, that he was excited but that it was unexpected and an overwhelming period of sadness too. As a sophomore, I just couldn’t seem to wrap my head around this.
Graduation, summer, and college just out of reach seemed so promising: a fresh start waited just beyond the last few weeks of high school. I was more excited than he was, and I couldn’t figure out why.
But now I understand. You realize that you will never see 95% of your classmates again, as they disperse to colleges statewide and across the country; those who you have seen daily on campus or in your classes are no longer there to share a smile and a wave.
The safety net that high school has created is quickly lifted, leaving you in a world of terrifying yet exhilarating uncertainty.
College has been something that I idealized since I was six years old. The independence, freewill, and creativity marks this as one of the most important times of my life: so everyone says.
In the midst of all of this excitement, however, I can’t help but be riddled by self-doubt and an excruciating lack of confidence; the fear of growing out of adolescence and into a self-sufficient, independent adult permeating the entirety of my being.
Am I ready to live disconnected from home? Am I up to par with collegiate academics? Will I survive social contexts that are out of my comfort zone?
These questions pulsate through my mind and facilitate the fear in me like an untouchable, malignant growth. I am in self-destruct mode.
I fluctuate from excited to petrified, ready to move out to never ready to leave.
There is one part of me that is excited to venture away on my own, to be inundated by new people, places, and ultimately, a new extension of myself; learning more and more about myself and what I need to do to adapt.
However, I can’t help but think that a bout of crippling anxiety and homesickness will leave me alone or on the train back home every weekend.
It’s still taking me time to realize that immediately after graduation I don’t have to be ready to move out and into an undocumented realm of my life.
The fears that I have of moving away keep me intact with an old way of life, and ultimately, a younger part of myself.
Experiencing new things, living in a new place, establishing new relationships, and creating new memories, the new life that I will soon be leading doesn’t have to completely disconnect from everything that has influenced who I am right now.
By embracing some of the worries and apprehensions, I am able to take on the world as an adult.
This transition in my life from high school and to college has taught me that it’s okay to be scared, to cry, and to want to push myself to experience novel things.
Missing home and who I used to be isn’t wrong, but in order to grow up and be happy, I also need to acknowledge and celebrate the bright future that I have in front of me.
The past won’t be forgotten as I walk into the future.