As I sit here at my desk in my room I remember how stressful and terrifying the thought of the upcoming year was.
Tenses are high, the pressure is on, and everyone is questioning you. Parents, teachers, strangers even, stress how important your decision is, to the point where you’d almost rather just not go.
But I have something to tell you. Being in that position not even a year ago, to now going to uni in Wales, I can both understand you and help you. Whatever you do, you’ll be fine. Seriously.
1. Look around. Google search different colleges. Don’t stick to one college because that one might not work out. Don’t be afraid to try something new. If you don’t want to go, don’t. You might change your mind later but you might not. College isn’t for everyone.
2. Do what you want to do, not what your parents, friends, significant other, teachers, coaches want you to do. No matter how ridiculous it seems, it feels right, just do it. Trust your gut.
3. Get out. At the National Honor Society induction ceremony last year, physics teacher Mr. Wacker said to leave Minnesota/home as soon as you can. Just get out and experience different things, and once your done, come back if you want to. Having left, I feel closer to home in a way than ever before. I appreciate it more.
4. Going off that point, study abroad. Everyone told me how their study abroad experience was their favourite time in college, so I decided to study abroad the whole time. You’ll meet really great people, learn about a different culture, eat new food, and experience life in a totally different way.
5. You always have time to change your mind. If you don’t like what you chose, you can change it. Switch colleges. Whatever you choose, it’s not set in stone. In the fall of 2013 I was trying to find universities to go to in England. I applied to a few home universities in case, but decided they weren’t right for me. After awhile I gave up and decided to take a gap year. That was my plan up until prom season in May when everyone was talking about their plans for next year. I decided I wanted to do something after all, so in June I searched for universities in Wales and found Swansea. I applied and got accepted at the end of June. It was a completely last minute decision, but it worked out. For some reason, going to college in the US just didn’t feel right for me. It seemed almost impossible to go to college abroad but I was very dedicated and very willing to make it happen. And I did.
6. This is cheesy but completely true. Have a fun last semester. My last semester of senior year was probably the most stressful semester I’ve had, but also the most fun. I know you’re losing motivation; the senior slide is completely real, but try not to let that get in the way. Make the most of it. You should go to class, but you should also ditch at least once. Sorry teachers if you’re reading this, but it’s true. As cheesy as this is, and to quote one of my yearbooks, you’ll remember the time you ditched, not the time you didn’t.
I’m happy with my decision despite how stressful and scary it was. Am I homesick? Sometimes, but it’s not that bad. I miss my friends and family, but I also miss small things driving, Target, Chipotle, and the cities. For awhile I let that bring me down, but going home made it easier because I realised I missed things that Swansea has that White Bear doesn’t. I learned to appreciate both for what they have and don’t have, and now I’m fine. Honestly, Skype, Viber, and streaming The Current online has made it a lot easier as well. It makes me feel less far away from home.
I hope this helped, but even if it didn’t, thanks for reading. Good luck to all of you with whatever your decision may be. You’ll be fine. Have fun and throw a grad party because why not.