Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

Well, it has officially been one summer and one semester since I graduated from high school – and I can say with confidence that the past six months have been the most transformative so far. As always, there are a few things I wish I knew ahead of time – some things I wish someone had said to me. In all likelihood, everything I’m about to write was said to me and I was just too anxious and excited to listen. Either way, listen up high school seniors.

First of all, stop stressing yourselves out about college decisions coming out. I know that seems absolutely ridiculous to say. Every time I heard that last year, I would roll my eyes and turn the other way. It’s impossible not to worry about these decisions – they will play a major role in deciding where you spend the next four years of your life. But you must realize that you have the opportunity to be happy anywhere you attend. Will some schools cater to your interests better than others? Sure. It’s important, however, to be excited about all of your schools. If you can see yourself at any one of them, then you’ve done yourself good. You’ll find your crowd and your interests wherever you go. So stress about it for now if you really need to – but don’t go crazy over it.

Next, ENJOY THE REST OF YOUR HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCE. I cannot stress this enough. Once we get accepted to college, we have this impatient tendency to be constantly looking forward toward orientation. This is a huge mistake. Whether you want it to happen or not, your high school class is going to grow apart. You have one more semester left with these people, plus whatever you make of the summer. So as hard as it may be to do, at least try to put the thought of college in the back of your mind once you’re accepted. Make the most of your remaining time in the high school era.

Stop, or better yet, never start the whole public self-pitying deal. This goes for high school and college: we are all busy, we will all be sick at multiple points during the semester; we all have personal trouble either back home or right here in the dorm – so stop broadcasting your problems as if the universe is purposely choosing your life to spoil. That being said, you absolutely need to have at least one friend through it all who won’t mind listening to your issues and being there among the chaos. Don’t run around the dorm blabbering about how hard you have it, but don’t keep everything bottled up to yourself either. There is always a happy medium.

And when you are finally in college, be sure to return to your high school for the occasional visit. There is little that is more rewarding than chatting with your favorite teacher about your studies and their lives and how things have changed. They love hearing about your success and ventures because they are usually the ones who planted the initial seed – so it’s an enriching experience for both parties. When I visited my high school over break, I was even treated to lunch at Moe’s by my old physics teacher. It’s worth a couple hours of your time.

Finally, and I’ve said this before, it’s okay if you don’t have a plan. You shouldn’t have a plan going into your freshman year of college because the only thing that concrete plan is going to do is restrict you. Have ambition, trust your instincts, and follow your passions. Everything else follows. That’s the truth.

These are some things I’ve learned – either accidentally or through fault of my own. I wish I learned them earlier, but am forever grateful I know them now. What it all boils down to is appreciating relationships that you have now, following what you love instead of what you think you love, and living life moment by moment, focusing on the present as opposed to the ever promising future. The grass only gets greener if you take care of it in its current state. You can’t just go directly from A to B sometimes. High schoolers, I hope you take something from this.



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the author

Eric Aldieri is a junior at Villanova University double majoring in Philosophy and Humanities. You can contact him at ealdieri@villanova.edu or @ealdi94 .

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  1. Julia F. on January 21, 2014

    “Have ambition, trust your instincts, and follow your passions. Everything else follows. That’s the truth.” So true! Really liked this post and I am sure most can relate to your experience and advice 🙂 I was lucky enough to read, “10 Things I Wish I Knew in High School” by author Sarah Galimore (https://www.eppinspires.com). This book changed my entire viewpoint on high school and planning for college. She simply states that most of the time teachers won’t be perfect, classes may seem pointless and everything about high school may not excite you (so it’s easy to start thinking about the next big thing…college) but no matter what put in the effort and work towards your goals. It is important to set standards for yourself especially if you don’t agree or like the standards that the teachers set in place for you. She gives a lot of valuable advice about planning for the future but she also stresses how important it is to enjoy your youth because once it’s gone, it’s gone. I really recommend this to high school and college students because it changes your mindset and how to come up with goals that will ultimately benefit you in the long run 🙂 Hope you will give it a read! Good luck in the future

  2. Natasha P. on April 7, 2014

    After reading the article, I found myself with answers to some of my own worries and concerns about going to college. Even as a junior, we have all started to worry about getting into colleges and most importantly, where to apply. The unneeded stress and anxiety can be eliminated with one easy step – apply to all the schools you can see yourself at. If every school you apply to can be considered a “dream school”, you are guaranteed to be satisfied no matter where you get in. Senior year of high school should not be spent worrying about receiving your acceptance letter, but appreciating the last days you have with the friends you’ve grown up with your whole life. Taking time to enjoy our final time as a high school student and realizing everyone has problems, most bigger than our own, will allow for a great way to end senior year. In four years when we graduate from a school that ended up being the right choice after all (hopefully), we should not look back at our last year of high school as a hectic, anxiety ridden experience.

    • Angela B. on April 7, 2014

      You’re right. Students place so much unneeded stress and anxiety on themselves that they can’t even enjoy their last semester of high school. We do need to realize that everyone has problems much bigger than our own, and just enjoy high school. There are plenty of schools out there with many options for students. Stressing about where to apply should not be a burden.

  3. Angela Barton on April 7, 2014

    Reading this article changed my perspective on college, considering it came from someone who is going through it. I always stress about college and how i won’t get into a good school if my SAT scores aren’t good enough, but no matter where i decide to go there will be many schools that offer what i decide to study. We all worry too much and complain about school rather than enjoying the time we have with our classmates to build relationships. I will be sure to come back and visit my high school to chat with my favorite teachers that have helped me over the years. The most important thing that i can take out of this article is to not stress, it’s just not worth it. We all have problems, but at the end of the day we need to put all aside and enjoy our time in high school.

    • Kerri g on April 7, 2014

      I agree, I always said I probably wouldn’t come back to central to visit teachers but this article made me realize how many good memories I really do have at bristol central.

  4. Kerri G on April 7, 2014

    After reading this article I now have a new perspective on preparing for college. This article made me come to the relization that I’m already stressing out about college and need to enjoy the time I have now with my friends because soon there will be many I will never see again. I also have more confidence that even if I don’t get into my dream school or it is too expensive I will still be able to have a great time at any other school. What you get out of something is all about what you put in it.

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