When you walked out of your high school for the last time as a student, you might not have realized one major thing you left behind: a set in stone environment. Up until that point, you have an idea of what is coming up the next year. If you’ve been in the same school system for your entire life, like me, you know exactly what’s coming up.
But then you graduate. You may know exactly where you’re going to college, but you still don’t know exactly what to expect. You may have read or heard a ton of first-hand accounts of what it’s like. You may be under the impression that everything will be exactly as you imagined it, but that doesn’t mean you know what the summer before you go to college will be like—especially after you make the realization that you’re entering a whole new world.
Even in the month since I graduated, I’ve learned a lot about what to expect in my life in the future.
Make the Most of Things
I hate the phrase YOLO, but there are some things you only experience once, and one of those things is high school. Since graduating, I’ve stated to realize how short of a time things actually last. I always took having a familiar space for learning for granted and just wanted to get out. Now that I don’t have that, and in its place is a giant hole of uncertainty, I kind of miss it.
So, the lesson I’ve learned is that nothing lasts forever. Take advantage of what you have and never act like something doesn’t matter. It just might and when you don’t have it, it’s scary, so you might as well have good memories to take along with you into the unknown.
…But Don’t Be Stupid
Living every moment to the fullest can be fantastic, but not when it puts everything else at risk. Since graduating, I have noticed people simply making stupid decisions because they “aren’t in high school anymore!”
Next thing they know, there hardly is a next in their life because of poor decisions. No
longer being in high school, but not yet being in college, may give some people a sense of freedom and indestructibility. You technically have no one to answer to like you did in high school, and it may seem like there’s no way to get in trouble, but there definitely are ways. Ways that are much worse than detention. I’ve seen too many people not realize that and you really start to notice the real life consequences actions can have when you don’t have a school’s punishments to hide behind.
You Don’t Learn Just in School
When you’re in school, you may think that all your knowledge comes from there. Sure, you may, and probably do, learn from other sources, but when you don’t remember how you learned something, you have an easy fall back. Since graduating, I’ve noticed just how much I have learned from other sources. I’m not in school anymore, but I’m still learning. From friends, family, and random strangers on the street. Knowledge comes from all sorts of places, and I never realized the full extent of that until this summer. In college, you’re again learning from teachers, but to a lesser degree than in high school. You also learn from other students more than in high school. Knowledge also comes from a new environment and new jobs and internships. All you have to do is keep your mind open and you can learn from many sources you never thought about.
Some Friends are Better Than Others
When in high school, you can count on seeing most of your friends every day. For me, I had friends that I just recently realized I only ever hung out with in school or at school functions. There were no times that I hung out with them outside of school, and I didn’t even realize it. They were such a part of my high school life that I never realized that they weren’t going to be in my life after graduation. After graduation, I learned which friends will stick with me, even if they aren’t required to be in the same building as me five days a week by law.