It’s the summer after my freshman year of college at the University of Washington. Being back in my hometown makes it impossible not to reflect on how my life has and has not changed since graduating from high school in 2015.
“Some things never change.”
Seriously, some things never change. My priorities still center around school and work. Applebees still is my go-to restaurant. My yellow lab Lilo is still a crazy lil pup. My two best friends from elementary and junior high are still my best friends.
But, given all of the new experiences I had in Seattle and through my first few jobs I have, indeed, grown. My direction for the future is more narrowed down. I always knew deep down that I wanted to pursue writing (specifically journalism), but I feared narrowing my career options by committing to a major. Of course, feeling decided is much more calming than feeling undecided and I am relieved that taking a variety of courses gave me the final push towards making up my mind.
Post-college I have a clearer picture of what my life will look like: living in an apartment in Seattle, writing / interning for a newspaper or magazine.
Relationships: Quality over quantity
K-12 provides us with the perfect opportunity to make friends. We see the same faces day after day, year after year, and that’s that. Once you’re graduated though, reality sets in. There is only so much time in a day. So much time to work, play, and rest. Life becomes more self-centered simply because post-graduation is a the prime time for figuring out your direction, college or not. With all of those K-12 friends you made going (literally) in separate directions only a handful of them will stick with you, and chances are it will be no surprise who those few lovely people are. They are going to be the friends that remember your awkward junior high days (because they were being awkward right next to you), the friends who have comforted you when your dog passed away or when that boy you thought the world of turns out to be someone else entirely, the friends who randomly call, text, and show up outside of your door.
Then there’s a different category of high school friends: the ones that you don’t have to see often or even talk often to but that you can still call your friends. These relationships are bittersweet because these friends once made you laugh and smile everyday and were some of the most genuine people you have known. It takes strength for friendships to withstand separation. You never forget these friendships, you just learn to treasure the times when they were a part of your life.
This summer I started working for the first time ever. Unconventionally, I am not starting out with merely one job, but I am juggling two jobs. Mainly I work in retail as a sales associate but I also work as a writer and photographer for The Daily, the student-ran newspaper at the University of Washington.
At the end of the day I pretty much feel like the same person I was when I graduated high school, only with a better sense of where my life is headed and significantly less crazy-patterned leggings.
The most important lesson I have learned since graduating high school is to move forward. I would not trade my K-12 experience for anything, but learning to let go and not to dwell in the past is important when these next few years set the trajectory for the rest of my life. So, whether you are still in high school or not, try to remember that there always good things right around the bend! 🙂