How do I feel?
I remember feeling this way twice before. I felt this way when 8th grade was ending and when high school was ending. Lost. Worried. Sad. Confused. A little excited, but mostly unsure about the future and scared that I would lose touch with friends. Sad that I wouldn't see the same people every day anymore. Reminiscent on all of the wonderful memories, laughs, moments when I needed encouragement, and the amazing people that were always there for me.
I've been dreading graduation all year, once it finally hit me that I was actually almost done. I had been so sour about college for so long that I almost wished it all away. Luckily, I started enjoying it before it was too late. I say I wasted 2.5 years and had the time of my life for 2.5 years. The first 2.5 years were not wasted, but I just didn't do a whole lot on campus. I made friends and participated in some things, but not nearly as much as I should have.
So here I am, looking back on these past five years. I can remember times when I thought, "I hate college. I'll be so glad when I am finally done and I can do what I want to do." I don't even know the person who said that anymore. I mean, I know how I felt at the time, but I'm so different from how I was back then. So much more appreciative. I've come a loooong way since then.
One thing I thought about when I was at my sister's band concert at my old middle school last week was this:
I remember being in that very gym on June 6, 2003. I remember being with all of my friends and crying my eyes out while we watched our 8th grade slideshow and R. Kelly's "The World's Greatest" played. Middle school was coming to and end, and I had had the time of my life in 8th grade. Seventh grade was a nightmare. I had gone from Wesleyan Academy to Southwest Middle. I had no friends, except for a couple girls who talked to me at lunch. Other than that, I was an outcast. Eighth grade came, and I made so many friends. Every day was fun. I looked forward to going to school. Just like this year was for me. I had a feeling that this would happen, just like it did in middle school. I started having the time of my life when it was almost too late, but I caught it just in time.
So there we were, in the gym on the last day of 8th grade. We didn't know what high school was going to be like. We were terrified. We knew we'd have each other for the most part, but our friend Keri was going to a different school, not Southwest High. And things would never be the same again.
After having a fantastic high school experience, I wished I could have gone back and told my 8th grade self, "Don't cry. Your life is just beginning! High school will be a blast! You'll make so many new friends, and you'll have wonderful classes and love your teachers." But my 8th grade self wouldn't have believed it.
Leaving high school was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I felt like after high school, my life would be over. (I'm not good with transitions or change AT ALL, if you haven't been able to tell). I was leaving the people I had known for so long, my best friends were leaving, I wouldn't see them every day like I had for so many years, I didn't know where I wanted to go to college. I wanted to be like everyone else and go off, but I wasn't ready to leave the comfort of home yet. I cried and cried. Graduation at the Greensboro Coliseum was like a funeral for me. I looked at everyone as we were lining up and thought, "I can't do this."
But guess what? Life went on after that. The people from high school that mattered most to me kept in touch. In fact, I still hang out and talk with people from high school all the time.
If I could go back and tell my 12th grade self something it would be this: "Don't cry! Your life is just beginning! Make the most of college right away. You'll make so many new friends, and even when you think you hate it, you'll really cherish every minute of it. You'll have professors who care about you and classes you really love. When things get rocky, they won't stay that way. And your high school friends will still be there for you, I promise." But my 12th grade self wouldn't have believed it.
Things were really rocky for a couple years, I will admit it. But as I mentioned earlier, things got great. This semester has been especially wonderful. I've made soo many new friends that I hope will be my friends forever.