On High School, College and “The Next Chapter”

Museum-Bench-Smiling-Happy Photo: Alanna Bagladi

The majority of senior year, I spent my days dreaming of summer and freedom. I prayed for the day when I would officially be a college student; the adventure intrigued me. Now that It’s summer, I’ve been reflecting upon my experiences and finding myself extremely nostalgic for something I wished away. I find comfort in the familiar and fear in the unknown; to call myself fearful for college would be an understatement.

The past couple of months have been loaded with change. And as each day passes onto the next, I find myself every night, sitting in bed, pondering what has shifted and what is still to come. I’m stuck in this past/present limbo and can’t seem to break free. College is a new chapter of my life and instead of embracing the change I’m avoiding it and holding on to the past. I find myself comparing the convenience of high school to the ultimate “inconvenience” of college.

High school was easy. Five days a week. Wake up at 7 am, wish the day away, get home before 4 and then do it all the next day. I’d walk to class with the same people every day, eat lunch with the same people at the same table, hangout with the same people on the weekends. Everything was the same. It was all convenient. And when I look to college and the future, I don’t see how this one chapter of my life is supposed to transition smoothly into the next. How do I turn the page?

There is this huge gap that the summer is supposed to prepare me for, and yet I’m sitting here, confused. Where has the time gone? And why am I feeling so unprepared? How are all my friends leaving in only a few weeks, and why does it feel like I only graduated yesterday? The change is this inevitable slap in the face that is coming at me head on.

My best friends are all headed off in different directions and I’m the one that’s staying here, at home. I’ll be surrounded by all the same aspects of our high school lives but the comfort in them will be missing. I won’t be able to call up my best friend and meet her at the park down the street. That comfort will be miles away. I’ve always been good at keeping in contact but this calls for a different level of effort. This change is like a big test and I’m scared I’m going to fail. I’m nervous I’ll be here, stuck, while around me change occurs and people move forward. Everything involves this effort, effort that up until now, I didn’t know I would need.

To me, college calls for maturity, and the ability to face rejection and risk. I’m attending a college in the fall where I know some people but I have no strong bond with any person there. I’m not dorming, so I’ll have to commute each day, and face the fact that I have to be the one who tries harder to make friends, find activities, and build a social life. There isn’t a set schedule calling my name and directing me towards the right path. There is so much ahead of me that I have no idea what will happen. It isn’t all black and white anymore, there is this huge grey area that I know nothing about and I’m nervous that I’ll get lost in it.

But that grey area, the unknown, doesn’t always scare me. It excites me sometimes. The entirety of this summer I have felt like a light switch, sporadically changing from off to on. I find myself itching to get started on my life ahead, and then struggling to let go of the past. I have this open playing field, and I really have no idea how to proceed. All I know I can do, cliche as it may sound, is enjoy the time I have left with my close friends, and cherish the memories we’re making in this gap between the chapters of our lives. I can’t know the future and I can’t stay in the past. So my solution is to simply enjoy the present day and work towards new experiences instead of getting hung up about outcomes. My goal is to keep the smile on my face because each day more time passes by, and all I want to do now is capture that time and find the comfort in it.


Becky Harrison : Certified klutz, free spirited, go-get-em goof ball. Loves writing poetry and the beach. Strong believer in bucket lists.