Steppin’ OutYou're graduating high school - take a deep breath and just…relax. You will graduate. You will move on to bigger, brighter things.
Congratulations! You did it! You are one month away from graduating from high school and three months away from moving away from home. Graduating from high school can mean a variety of things. Your reign as a senior over the juniors, sophomores, and freshmen is about to end. Soon, you’re going to be thrust into something scary: a huge, sprawling college campus where you become that tiny, tiny freshman again in a sea of big sharks.
I get it. Graduating high school is scary. No matter how good or bad your high school experience may be, it’s scary leaving something behind—especially if you went to the same school for 12 years. Graduating high school is a transition that everyone goes through and it’s not something you take lightly. It’s not a transition you can brush off or speed your way through. Embrace this transition—let it sink in. Take a deep breath and just…relax. You will graduate. You will move on to bigger, brighter things.
Let the feeling…sink in.
You are about to graduate from high school. Can you let that sink in? I was a nervous wreck (all those years ago). Partly because I absolutely hate being in front of people and graduation included walking across the stage, and partly because I was moving away from my hometown. When I graduated high school, I didn’t let it sink in enough that I was moving away. I went to college three and a half hours away from home, so it really wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was still far enough away from Mom and Dad. (When I got to college, I underestimated that distance.) My advice to you, you 18-year-old, let everything sink in. Don’t take any moment for granted. Take EVERY moment in.
“Embrace this transition—let it sink in. Take a deep breath and just … relax.”
Don’t ignore the people that love you.
You’re going to college! Your first thought may be, “freedom!” You can walk to the closest dining hall (mine was the next building over) and buy tacos whenever you want (on this handy-dandy little thing called a meal plan). But again, don’t take it so lightly. Call your mom. Call your dad. FaceTime your dog. But one important reminder: don’t ignore God. Don’t ignore your Creator. It’s easy to get wrapped up in new friendships, hard classes, and an all-access dining hall. Take it from me, it can be difficult to manage a relationship with your Creator as you’re in this transition. But remember: He’s with you every step of the way; He’s got your back. Don’t push Him to the backburner. Take out your Bible and start reading (remember to pack it!). Try to pray to Him every day, about anything and everything. Talk to Him openly, either out loud or in your head, and listen to what He has to say to you in return.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
I know there are Facebook groups for almost every university—those “Class of 2023” Facebook pages exist, y’all. Take advantage of them! Who knows? Your best friend and/or soulmate could be out there.
These Facebook pages and other resources your university gives you are a great catalyst for future organizations you could potentially join. If you are passionate about a particular cause, consider joining Greek life. If you like chocolate milk, then there’s probably a club for that, too!
If you are afraid to make friends on a huge campus, that’s normal. The person sitting next to you in class is afraid, too. Take that one step out of your dorm room and into the dingy, smelly hallway and join an organization. Talk to the person sitting next to you in class. Join one of the countless clubs and organizations—there’s bound to be one that is the right fit for you.
Let your faith be bigger than your fear.
My mom got me a small piece of wall art to “spruce up” my tiny shoebox of a dorm room. I still have it; it sits on my desk at work. The wall art reads: “Let your faith be bigger than your fear.” I look at it every day and it reminds me to stand up for what I believe in. It reminds me that no matter what I’m afraid of, I must always pursue my dreams. It stems from Hebrews 13:6 (NIV): “So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Do not let fear get in the way of pursuing your dreams. Do not let fear get in the way of talking to new people. Do not let fear get in the way of living your life. Stand up. Walk to the dining hall. Open yourself up and start talking. Even if you’re a shy, quiet introvert like me, just talk to people. I promise you—it is worth it. You will meet your people. You will see a change in yourself—a change for the better.
Have. No. Fear.
Are you listening? God is with you. God has your heart. God created your heart. Do not be afraid. If God created your heart, what can “mere people” do to you (Hebrews 13:6)? Do not be afraid. If God created your heart, what can a huge, sprawling college campus do to you? What can big and scary college professors do to you? If you have God in your heart, then you have no reason to be afraid. You have the Word of God on your side. “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV).
Hey, you. Yeah, you. The graduating class of 2019. I know your feelings. I know your pain. I know your patience. You’re graduating high school. This is a big, scary transition but God’s got you. Trust Him, and He will give you courage. Trust Him, and you will be okay.
FOR FURTHER STUDY:
- “Welcome to College: A Christ-Follower’s Guide for the Journey” by Jonathan Morrow
- “Am I Enough? Embracing the Truth of Who You Are” by Grace Valentine
- Sadie Robertson’s video: “A Message to My Fellow College-Age Friends”
KEY THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN GOING TO COLLEGE:
- Call your mom, dad, dog, siblings, grandparents…but most importantly, talk to God.
- Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
- Let your faith be bigger than your fear.
- Let fear get in the way of pursuing your dreams.
- Let fear get in the way of talking to new people.
- Let fear get in the way of living your life.
“You will meet your people. You will see a change in yourself— a change for the better.”
Olivia Scherzer is the Editorial Assistant for Peer. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in public relations from Virginia Tech. When she’s not in the office, she loves scouting out local coffee shops and museums, petting any dog she sees and hanging out with her friends and family.