Graduation is one of the most important moments of a young person's life. It's the culmination of four years of hard work finally paying off. Unfortunately, they don't hand you a life-after- graduation manual along with your diploma. You might get some advice here and there, but for the most part you kinda just have to figure it out as you go along. You'll succeed and you'll fail, but there are always lessons in failure. And sooner or later you'll look back and say "I wish someone had told me this before."
Here's a list of things that I wish I knew before I graduated:
1. You and your friends might grow apart.
It happens when you all jet off to different places, which happens a lot. It's unlikely for your entire friend group to end up in the same place after graduation, unless you all made some kind of pact. Either way, don't be too discouraged if you realize you're not as close as you once were.
2. It's not a big deal if you didn't date in high school.
I know, I know. It seemed like everyone but you was boo'ed up in high school. But once you get to college, you'll find other people who rode the single train throughout all four years. You may have been single then, but you won't be alone now.
3. You don't have to have everything figured out just yet.
I'm sure people have been asking you all types of questions about your future, from what's your major to what type of career do you want. It's okay if you don't know. Most people don't have their entire life figured out at age 18. You'll get there eventually.
4. Don't be afraid to try new things.
Seriously, it's important that you learn to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while. It'll benefit you in the long run. You don't want to miss out on great opportunities because you were too afraid to take a risk.
5. Be smart with your money.
Mom and Dad aren't going to bankroll you forever. If you haven't learned any money management skills yet, you'd better start now. You don't want to be that senior begging freshmen for a meal swipe in the cafeteria.
6. Take care of your health, both physical and mental.
Learn to prioritize your health and pay attention to what your body is telling you. You can't survive on a diet of instant noodles and coke forever. And pulling all nighters day after day will destroy you eventually. Your health is important. Remember that.
7. You don't have to be the same person you were in high school.
In fact, college is the perfect time to reinvent yourself. If you were the jock but always had a love of theater, then join an acting group. If you were the brainiac that always had a secret passion for baking, then sign up for a cooking class. You don't have to stay the same forever.
8. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
This is probably one of the biggest things I had to learn. Whether it's pride or fear holding you back, get over it. Looking back, you'll wish you had asked for help when you had the chance. It will make your life so much easier. Don't force yourself to struggle when you don't have to. Reach out to someone for help.
9. Stop. Procrastinating.
I mean it. Stop puttting things off until the last moment. You just end up causing yourself more stress. Believe me, you'll already have plenty of that, which brings me to my last point.
10. Learn how to effectively manage your stress.
And do it in a healthy way. You don't want to develop any addictions or bad habits as a way of coping with stress. Maybe take up yoga or water coloring. Find a healthy outlet for your stress. You'll thank yourself later for it.
These are just some of the things I wish I knew before I graduated high school. I'm sure I'll discover more things I wish I knew as I continue my post high school journey, and I'm sure you will too.