I know adults — whether they are distant family members or employees at CVS — have been congratulating you on your upcoming high school graduation for at least a month straight now. I understand that politely smiling and saying thank you to all of these well-meaning old people can get slightly tiresome after a while, especially when you’re not even entirely sure about your feelings toward graduation.
Of course you’re excited, because after June 1 comes the three-month-long party known as summer vacation. But you’re also sad, sentimental, nervous, nostalgic, and probably at least a wee bit terrified.
Rest assured, it is completely normal to feel as if you’ve been caught outside in a hurricane of emotions. Take a second to remember that any person who claims to be completely 100 percent thrilled about graduating is lying. Experiencing bouts of anxiety and unease during periods of change is more natural than eating or sleeping.
As you begin college and thus open a new chapter in your life, expect to learn more than you thought was physically possible (don’t worry, your brain will be able handle it). Of course, some of the most important aspects of learning will take place within the bounds of lecture halls and crowded classrooms. But other lessons will come when you least expect it — when you’re sitting around a table eating pizza with your friends or sharing secrets with your roommate at 3:30 a.m. These are the lessons that you tend to carry the longest, years after formulas, equations, and history facts have faded from your memory...