With only around a month left of our freshmen year of college, it’s a good time to reflect on how we got to where we are now. Last year at this time, many of us probably didn’t know where we would end up for school, and as high school graduation rapidly approached, we had a lot of life-changing decisions to make. Now that freshmen year will soon be coming to a close, many of the things we were worried about last year have since been resolved, and hopefully most of us ended up happy with our decisions. With that being said, here’s a reminder of the many things on our plates last year that are now off our radars.
1. Planning a high school graduation party.
A party celebrating all of your achievements throughout your first 18 years of life seems like it would be a great time, but it took a lot of stress and planning first. It’s odd to look back on it now and remember worrying about the guest list, the decorations, the food and everything else that came with planning the party, but now that our high school era has passed, graduation parties are fun memories to look back on.
2. Turning in all of the local scholarships on time.
For my hometown at least, April was the deadline for almost all of the local scholarships so this time last year, I was busting my butt writing essays, filling out applications and hunting down teachers who could write glowing letters of recommendation for me. Of course, it was all worth it to have to pay a little bit less for my first year of college, but that didn’t stop my hairs from turning gray nonetheless. At least now we can look back and be thankful that we spent so much time worrying about our scholarships because all of that likely led to receiving them or at least knowing that we did everything we could to help ensure our success.
3. Deciding which school would ultimately be our future home.
As May 1 is the decision deadline for most schools, this time last year was spent frantically researching, visiting and coming up with every possible pro and con to weigh all of our options. Deciding which college to attend certainly wasn’t something to take lightly, so it was stressful trying to decide what could arguably be the biggest decision we ever had to make regarding our futures at that point. Now that we have spent almost a year at our chosen schools, hopefully most of us can agree that it was worth all of the stress to be able to make what was ultimately the right decision. If not, students who have decided to transfer at least know what they don’t want in a school and will be more equipped to make their next decision.
4. Realizing that we only had a few months left at home before being out on our own.
I distinctly remember how sad everything felt last year, especially as graduation got closer and closer and high school activities came to an end. There was also a sense of sadness surrounding certain moments at home whenever my family members or I remembered that we wouldn’t be able to have some of those moments the next year. However, being at college comes with a sense of freedom that most of us didn’t have at home, and we discovered that being homesick is just a normal part of college life. Luckily, we have technology and breaks to provide us with plenty of opportunities to stay in touch with our loved ones.
5. Parting ways with our friends and having to make new ones.
Last year at this time, it was bittersweet to discuss college plans with friends as we all grew excited but felt sad at the same time that most of us had different schools in mind. Deciding which school to go to is a very personal decision, so a lot of friends don’t end up deciding on going to the same place. Knowing that only a few months remained of getting to see my friends whenever I wanted was something that seemed to always be at the back of my mind, especially because it’s scary to think about moving to college and having to start all over by making new ones. However, all of us came into college in the same boat, all starting over fresh at a new place, so plenty of opportunities to make new friends arose. Also, it’s actually pretty fun to compare college experiences with friends while we’re all home over break.
6. The fact that soon, EVERYTHING would be changing.
Our education. Our homes. Our friends. Our daily routines. Our lives. Last year, we knew that everything would soon be changing, and that was perhaps the biggest worry of all. Change is difficult for most people to go through, especially when the change is something as life-altering as moving to college. All of the people we knew from our communities, our schools and everything we were used to would soon be left behind for a new community and a completely different educational experience. Making all of those changes was hard, but everything was worth it to truly grow as a person throughout the first year of college. Change is scary, but hopefully most of us can agree that it’s necessary to take us to where we want to be.
It’s fun to look back on the many worries we had last year at this time as we now worry about the approach of finals week and all of the papers, projects and tests we have yet to get done before that week approaches. Just remember, what we’re worried about now will be resolved in a year’s time, and we can look back at our struggles fondly.
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