This Is For The High Schoolers Stressing About College

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📷: Jonathan Daniels

I remember when I was in your shoes, smoothing out the folds in my Senior Brunch dress, taking a deep breath as the academic dean of my high school called me forward to accept a local scholarship.

I remember my first college visit, walking slowly, purposefully, wishing for this school to suddenly feel like home with a welcome banner and balloons—some sort of sign like the world tells you will happen—Bang! And suddenly you know this is it.

I remember Saturday afternoons that stretched out for what felt like days, reading email after email, writing to coaches, searching through scholarship sites, navigating through college webpages wondering where I’d end up. Deciding, then changing my mind, then looking out the window and wondering if other people had felt this way—so terribly excited and frightened at the same time.

I remember driving home after visiting the college I later decided on. It was my first visit there, mid-February. I remember feeling distracted; my boyfriend and I had just broken up and were in a state of indecision. I wasn’t ready to think about schools. I just wanted to make it back home for his dance performance so I could ask him to the Sadie Hawkins’ dance with the 50ft banner I had made. I already knew what I was going to wear, what I would say. My mind was elsewhere.

I remember wondering where I should go, wondering if I should stay close, if I would find friends, if my boyfriend and I would stay together. I remember wondering if it would be hard watching my sister grow up via Skype, if I would miss my mom and dad, or if I would become close with my teammates.

But I eventually picked a school, this one almost seven hours from home. I packed my bags. I left. I embraced the change that had been bubbling inside me for that entire senior year. I made friends, I threw myself into school functions, I joined in activities, I joked with teammates, I forged my own path and became less afraid of the future and I loved it—the good, the bad, the homesick, the new home. You may feel terrified, stuck, indecisive, or lonely right now. You may not even know how to feel. But just know that you will choose a school, you will grow, you will change, and you will be okay. Take a deep breath. No matter what, you will be okay.