A Student’s Reflection: My Transition To College

Imagine driving to graduation with two of your close friends.

Now imagine driving to graduation with those two same people, one year later.

Tonight, this was my exact situation. There I was, sitting up in the stands, watching as some of my old high school friends were about to embark on the journey I so easily recall. As I watched this unfold, I realized that the best time to look back on your high school experience is not the week before school’s out or the night of graduation but when you’ve managed to successfully complete a year outside of the walls of your alma mater.

This is because you aren’t removed enough to fully take in what has gone on for those four years. You’ll either romanticize it or brush it off like it was just another few days in your life.

Here’s how my progression of feelings happened:

  • Week before school was out: A range from oh-my-gosh-no-parents-no-rules-soon to random outbursts of sobbing without any warning.
  • Night of graduation: Tears, tears, tears, te…ffrreeEEDOOMMM!
  • Month into summer: Ha, I still don’t have to set an alarm.
  • Two weeks before moving into college: Shoot, I actually have to go to college.

It’s crazy how distance can change your viewpoint on things. With enough distraction and distance, things become much less important and present very quickly.

So it’s not until you’ve battled through a whole year of graduated life to really truly understand what you’re feelings are towards the seemingly never ending years of high school.

High school is a really crazy part of your life. You’re thrown into a big huge building with kids that look like they could be your parents while trying to figure out how you’re going to make it through your first day let alone the next four years. Nobody really knows what they are doing. Hormones are freaking out, cars are being driven, drama is always just around the corner, and on top of that, you’re trying to figure out what it is you want to do after you finally make it through the maze and come out with a diploma in hand.

After a year outside the realm of high school you’ll realize how great it was to know your teacher on a personal level. You’ll realize as much as you hate dining hall food, at least you’re not still eating that stuff from the cafeteria. You’ll realize the friendships you made might start to disappear, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t matter. You’ll realize you should have cherished all the easy 20 minute assignments given to you. You’ll realize no matter how much you liked high school, the next step of your life will be better.

By all means, if you do go back to the new senior classes’ graduation ceremony take some time to reminisce and maybe even get a little sad, but after you’ve had your pity party, wake up and realize all that has happened since you were sitting, waiting for your name to be called out. Reflect on your college experience thus far. What “firsts” did you have? How did it feel to be out of the eyes of your parents? Are the quality of your classes exponentially better? Do you ever want to go back to high school?

It’s all about perspective. When you’re in it, you only see the bad stuff. When you’re out of it, you only see the good stuff. With enough distance, you’ll see it for how it truly was. The good, the bad, and everything in between.

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Abby Thomas

Abby Thomas

Abby Thomas is a freshman at University of Iowa studying Journalism and Nonfiction Creative Writing. She plans to one day be able to get paid to travel around the world writing about her adventures. The day you can find her travel book on the shelves of bookstores will be the day she has finally reached her life goal. When she is not pursuing her dreams of travel writing, she is either at the University's radio station or on her computer wasting time on Tumblr and Netflix.