Everything's been going great. You're committed to college, you've made some friends already, you got all of your classes planned out and things are already looking bright — that is, until you realize the life that you've known for the past 18 years or so is about to change forever. 

Going to college is like a weird bridge between childhood and adulthood. It's that next step to becoming independent — the completely pay-the-bills, buy-your-own-groceries kind of independent. All of a sudden, you're not a kid anymore; you'll go from your simple part-time job to a real career in a matter of four or five years (and pay taxes, too). At some point you'll look at the adults around you and think, "I might be closer to that than to being a teenager." And that's just weird

Sooner than that, you'll be living independently without the constant guidance of your parents or guardians. Even in college, you'll have to fend for yourself, do your own laundry and all the while somehow adjust to keeping yourself alive all on your own. It might not be easy, but who knows? Maybe it won't be so bad after all. 

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We're just nearing the starting line of this great adventure, and we've got the rest of our lives to figure it out. College, when you take advantage of all the amazing opportunities in front of you, can be amazing, and likely will be. 

It's a scary thing to think about, especially when you consider that college seems to be the first step towards really becoming an adult. Not only do you not really have the guidance of your parents right around the corner anymore, but you also don't have the advice and opinions of your lifelong friends the same way you have had all your life (texting and calling don't always have the same effect). It's hard when everyone's going their separate ways, and even if you've already made some friends for the fall, it's still scary to think that your relationships with those that you've known forever might never be the same again; next time you get together, it might be over coffee during your lunch break or even later while the kids are at soccer practice — you never know.

It's time to face it: You're not really a kid anymore, but don't despair either! You aren't really an adult yet. Make sure you take this time to stop on your way across this bridge, look into the water and reflect, but splash around a bit, too. Make the most of these next few years and then suddenly, you'll be prepared without even realizing it.

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