How does done feel?
With May 1st in the past and graduation approaching quickly, powerful emotions are likely kicking in. My advice for graduation would be to enjoy yourself. You may start to feel the catch-22: the more you focus on being in the moment, the less you’re actually there. Try to let it all be as it is. Bring your best attitude, and allow things to be imperfect. Spend time with the people that matter most to you and attempt to put as little pressure on these moments as possible. Your fondest memories will never be the ones you plan or predict.
The dust is settling and the entire ordeal is pretty much over. Given that the whole college application process felt like it would never end, this may come as a shock of sorts. In my own experience, after an incredible hustle–touring an array of schools (admittedly, too many), going out for several interviews, clocking hours with each supplement, and ultimately reaching a final decision on where I would go–I remember a sinking feeling that none of those efforts amounted to anything. After all that work, I was only going to one school. To combat these thoughts, I frequently reminded myself that my hard work and time spent on everything was essential to my success and something to be proud of; nothing went to waste, I knew myself better and I’d thought about what I might want to do in college.
As much as you can, start to claim a positive mindset: you’re going to college. It is a milestone and major accomplishment. Try to let go of worries or doubts about the particular school. Think about what moving to college means for you personally, and what new abilities and resources college brings.
Going to college is no longer hypothetical. Now that it’s real, take time to soak in how you’re embarking on a big and wonderful change. Simply going to college is a huge privilege and a big step forward in one’s life. It is worth taking some time for reflection. Try asking yourself: what do I want to get out of college? What and who helped make this journey possible? When you look at it as more than the next predetermined step, what does a college education mean to you personally? What do you want for yourself now?
What to do over the summer
My best recommendation for summer is to spend time with yourself. In high school, a large portion of your focus is taken up by grades, classes, consuming extracurriculars, and college planning stress. This summer is a time to get to know yourself without any of these things in your life or on your mind. Depending on where you are and what you’re studying, you’ll probably encounter more “free” or unstructured time in college. Summer is the perfect time to begin discovering what you like to do with your time and how it feels to have time with yourself.
Furthermore, when you’re meeting people those first weeks, nobody is going to want to hear about high school. They want to hear about you instead; what music you like, what tv shows you watch, your general outlook on life (your zodiac sign, if you go to a hippy school). The more you yourself get to know your non-academic side, the more prepared and relaxed you’ll be when you arrive to campus and begin making new connections.
If you feel like you’re confident in your interests and self, take the summer to try out some things that are completely different. When you do get to college, you’ll be able to continue to explore becoming your best, most wholesome, person.
Can’t Wait To Start?
If you really need to focus on college, then fulfill your curiosity by doing research that will help you to improve your first year of life on a college campus. Consider looking into these things and asking yourself these questions:
The Pre-Freshman Summer. Many colleges and universities offer a summer immersion program that allows you to get ahead and experience college. You can familiarize yourself with the campus, courses and professors, giving yourself what Cal terms “the freshman edge.” Call the admissions office at your college/university if you can’t find a program on the website. For an example, here is a link to a Cal program for incoming freshman.
Next Up: For Juniors: How Many Essays Do I Have To Write?
Felicia Fahey PhD
Felicia is a comprehensive educational consultant. She works with college bound students of all ages close to home, across the country and around the globe.