Dear Class of 2019,
Congratulations! You made it through all four years of high school. I’m sure you’re bummed to leave hallway drama, frozen cafeteria food, and 8 back-to-back classes behind you (I know I was – that’s why I ran out of school when the final bell rang!).
You are ready to begin a new chapter of your life. One where you can essentially be whoever you want to be. You’re moving on to a new place that’s full of new people who have never met you. While that can seem totally scary, it’s also completely exciting.
I remember the day that I left home. As pumped as I was to get out of there, it started out kind of sad. I’m an only child, so I know it wasn’t easy for my parents to pack my whole life away in their car, and it wasn’t easy for me to see my childhood home in the rearview mirror as we drove away. After we got to school and set up my room, it was time to say goodbye, and that was one of the scariest moments of my life. I had the realization that I truly was starting a new life. I really didn’t know anyone and certainly didn’t have plans for my first “college night.” I ended up sitting in my bed that evening and hoping it would get better.
The next morning, I woke up with a new perspective and the goal to meet at least one new person. A girl on my floor introduced herself to me, and we became friends instantly. I vividly remember the text that I sent to my parents that day – “Mom and Dad, I think I made a friend!”
From there on out, I made it a point to introduce myself to as many people as I could, try out new activities, and just enjoy this experience. I can honestly say that my freshman year of college was the best year of my life. I wish that for all of you as well.
I spent my whole life up to that point just waiting to get out. Not that I didn’t have great friends, family, and experiences at home – I just wanted something different, as I’m sure that many of you do. One piece of advice that I can give to you right now is to enjoy your last few months at home. Your high school friends are a special bunch, it’s breaking your parents’ hearts that you’ll be leaving, and you won’t get a delicious home cooked meal for weeks.
However, you do have a lot to look forward to: friendships that will last a lifetime, professors that you’ll never forget, and nights that you couldn’t even make up. This is an exciting time; you will never be in this same spot again, so smile, soak it all in, and get ready for the best time of your life.
For now, try not to trip at graduation and don’t do anything that could jeopardize the awesomeness that awaits you. I wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors and hope that you will share the same sentiments that I have.
Erin Elizabeth McMahon