Rising senior Meghan Loveless has been writing for The Odyssey Online for over a year and offers these words of advice to those preparing to begin the college experience. You can read her Odyssey posts here. (Photo from Meghan's Odyssey site)

To The Graduating High School Senior: A new chapter is just beginning.

 I remember when I was in your position just about three years ago. It’s a time of mixed emotions, excited that you’ve finished high school and you will begin your college soon, but also a little sad because you’ll be leaving your friends. Although you may think that you won’t miss high school, however, as you look back you might find that these were some of the best moments of your life because you saw your friends every day, played your favorite sport and basically carefree. Granted, you won’t have a whole lot to worry about for the next few years in college, but you’ll understand what I mean by those years in high school being some of your most carefree moments soon enough.

1. Take a look around

As you go through your last few days of high school, take a moment to take in the scenery around you, the interactions with your classmates, teachers, and friends. Take part in the different activities that the school puts on for your senior class, it adds to your high school memories. Enjoy and have fun because come graduation day, you won’t see most of the people that you spent four years or more with for a very long time, if ever.

2. If high school wasn’t for you, college will be better.

People say high school is the best four years of your life. For some this may be true, but if you didn’t have the best four years in high school, I promise you that college is waiting for you. It’s a fresh start when you begin college as a freshman. No one knows who you are and you don’t have to live up to any older siblings. You get to be your own person and I promise that just that fact alone makes college significantly better for a number of people.

3. Take Risks

Try something new, while leaving everything that you once knew to go to school in a brand new town is a risk in itself, try something you’ve always wanted to do, but were afraid to try. You’re young and a new adventure is beginning, so go skydiving, take up a new hobby, do something that you can check off your bucket list!

4. Stay Connected

Some people might say that high school friendships don’t last when you all go off to college. That isn’t true at all. While you won’t see your friend’s everyday like you did in high school, there are plenty of ways you can still keep in touch. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, and you probably won’t talk every day because you will all be on different schedules, but if you want to be friends, you will.

Graduating from high school and starting college is an extremely exciting time, and you should be proud of yourself. This is a milestone in your life, opening the proverbial new door. Don’t take this time for granted because it won’t last forever, so have fun and do things that make you happy. Next thing you know you’ll be a rising senior asking yourself where the time went. High school will feel like it was just yesterday, yet so long ago.