With many graduations coming up in the next few weeks, I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve learned since my graduation from Portage High School. I have many friends and family graduating in the next few weeks and I remember not being sure of my future, but I want them to know that everything will work out if they’re willing to make the next big step into life after high school.
First, it’s okay to be sentimental. You have probably spent the past 12+ years with the same people in school. In my case, I had gone to three different elementary schools, and I don’t treasure any of my old friendships less than any other. Each friendship and school gave me wonderful memories and you’ll find yourself at graduation thinking about how excited you are to go off to college, but it may hit you either on the day, or a few days later that some of your friends are going to school hours from your school, and that you may only see some of the best friends you’ve had your whole life a few times a year. So get sentimental, talk about all those good memories because you will cherish some of those memories the rest of your life.
Second, your high school friends may not end up being forever friends like you thought, but they could be. Relationships give out exactly what you put into them. I have people that I haven’t talked to since my project graduation, and I have high school friends I still talk to on a weekly basis. If your high school friends are willing and able to put in the time to talk, go for it! However, if you start to slip away from some of your high school friends, I’m gonna tell you now, it’s gonna happen. Some of your best friends will get new friends or get too busy to talk all the time or be too far away for it to be plausible that you see one another more than 2 or 3 times a year. That’s okay too! You will meet PLENTY of new friends at your next step in your life, whether that be college, a sports team, an apprenticeship, the workforce. There will always be new people for you to meet and become friends with. Which leads me to my next point.
Thirdly, don’t be afraid to meet new people! Graduation is the change for you to spread your wings (cheesy, i know) and find what you want to do with your life. Along the way you will meet tons of new people all looking for their next step in life, and sometimes they coincide with yours. My mom always told me my friends will always be changing, and the longer I’m out of high school, the more I find that to be true. Some of my best friends now, weren’t my friends a year ago. Some of my friends from 1st semester of college I don’t even talk to anymore. That doesn’t mean you don’t hold on to what they taught you, your paths just don’t cross anymore and that’s okay.
Speaking of paths, it’s okay to not know what you want to do in the future. I was always told you don’t need to know what you want to do, you need to know what you DON’T want to do in your life. I have already switched majors and minors a few times, and I’m finally happy with what I’m studying. Change is inevitable. Learn to experiment with all different classes and have an open mind. I’m majoring in accounting and in high school I wouldn’t take any accounting classes because I thought I would hate it. I never gave it a shot and now I love my accounting classes more than any of the other classes I’m taking. So don’t be afraid to not know what you want to do with your life. Even after you have your major, the workforce is a whole other animal. A lot of my professors have worked many different jobs just because they felt they needed a change.
This next category isn’t as light-hearted as the first few. Make sure you understand that reading the textbook and studying become important to actually learning and passing your classes in college. At this point in your life you get to start picking the classes you will be taking, so you should find them more interesting. However, there are so many events and chances to see your friends at any moment at school, that sometimes students procrastinate or think they can just do the minimum like they did in high school. This is a recipe for disaster in college. You will have good professors who care if you’re doing your homework and actually learning, and you will have professors who couldn’t care less if you show up for class everyday, let alone pass their class. In college you HAVE to take your education into your own hands and make sure you know what you need to do to reach your goals.
Last, but not least, have fun with this transition in front of you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help and/or advice if you need it. After high school, many of you will be going to school or moving out to go into the work force and/or insert whatever you are going to do to take the next step. You are officially an adult, and many of you will be moving onto college campuses, some of you very far from home. I’m lucky that my school is only 2 hours from home so if I needed help, it was fairly close. Others of you will be going across the country, or even elsewhere in the world. Have fun with that transition and enjoy every moment this crazy life may bring you, but never be afraid to call home for help. Your parents will wait to hear from you, and sometimes may give you some tough love, but understand that they’re just trying to help you through the next step of you becoming who you are meant to be, without doing everything for you. Being independent can be hard, but it’s something that everyone needs to learn at some point, and these few years after high school are the perfect time to do so.
So good luck to the class of 2017 in your future, and I hope you enjoy life after high school just as much as I have.
See you next time,