First of all I would warn myself about how homesick I would get being so far away from family. I would tell myself that although at times I would feel as though I would never get used to being so far away from my family and what I think of as home when I allow myself to fully connect and fully let go of the "need" for my family I would find that college and the life long friends I have began to make have become home. I would then tell myself to not get behind on my work, that although my senior year was hard and challenging, college will be harder and more fast-paced. But not to get overly stressed and to make sure I get enough sleep because in the end with sleep and perserverance things are never as bad afterwards as they seemed during. I would remind myself to pay close attention in class but also in day to day life because what you learn in the world will apply to what you are learning in the class room. Learn to listen more and talk less because people want someone who listens to be their friend.
First off I would make sure I was aware that grades are the highest priority. The people that are constantly around asking if you want to go get Chipotle for the third time that week or go to the mall (even though you have been twice already) are always going to be around. You have to learn that they are just a deterrent. Also the "freshman fifteen" is a real thing. I should be prepared for the fried pasta and pizza with oil that drips off. Although it is tasty, it is not very beneficial for the body. All night cramming sessions are not the way to go. While thirty minute naps through the day will hold you over till five in the afternoon when you can crash, the retention factor is not very high. I would probably make sure I was aware that the teachers, although high in brain power, can talk like normal people to help you out when all seems lost as you look at the blank test sheet in front of you. Looking back those are the things that come to me from the small pool of things that I have learned.
A wise British scholar and novelist by the name of C.S. Lewis once stated...."Experience: the most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God you learn!" In my first year of college, nothing has taught me more than simply jumping into the entire experience of college and learning to swim. Yes, the ocean of education can be brutal, but how much harder it will be for someone to take away the lessons I have learned because I truly went through and experienced it for myself! I will always remain proud for the day I earned an A+ on my midterm, the way I persevered in the battle of finances, took the stage for the first time in a college production, or learned that there is no greater way to invest your time than in people. I am so thankful for the lessons I have learned, the challenging classes I have taken, and the fabulous professors I am honored to know. Yet I find not one of these to be the most valuable reason to attend college, rather, it is to take in the whole blessed, brutal experience!
Looking back at myself as a high school senior, I realize how much emphasis is placed on getting into the college that you want to and not enough on what to do after you've been accepted and the preparation for that transition, with things such as time management and personal care. With that in mind, the advice that I would give myself would have to be to pay attention to the style of teaching as well as the disciplines learned through school. When you get to college you have just been given the biggest gift, free time; you have just been given the opportunity to either spend your time wisely or to waste it away. I would tell myself to always remember the disciplines of schedule-making (for homework, work, and a personal life) and always remembering how to take care of myself that I won't run myeself down in the first few weeks. I find this extremely important because it not only helps set you up for a great college time, but also helps set you up for the rest of your life.
If I could go back, the first thing I would tell is that there is absolutely nothing to worry about. I know that I had fears of being on my own when I was in high school but I have come to learn that I am in good hands. I would probably tell myself to become a little more social before I go because that was one thing that I struggled with. Another thing I would advise myself is to read a lot before I got so that it is easier to follow the text books I use as soon as I start school. It would probably be important to inform myself that I need to keep my priorities in line so that I do not get overwhelmed or miss any assignments and other due dates. Something else that would probably prove worthy of sharing with myself is to not let any distraction rise up in my life so that I can focus on school work. But I would also suggest to myself to find time to rest and just have fun so that I can be refreshed when I get back to my school work.
If I could talk to myself as a high school senior I would tell myself how important it is to be the responsible God created me to be. I should never allow laziness to prevent me from doing what needs to be done, because it will keep me out of trouble later. I would tell myself it is alright to decline some volunteer offers because over-working in that area means under-working in school. I would remind myself how important it is to be responsible with my money, and never feel that I have to have the greatest electronics in the world, becaue they won't bring me satisfaction. Do not expect to get along with everyone, not even your roommate; there are friends out there for you, you just have to let lose, get out there and find them. Do what is asked of you and you can avoid a lot of trouble later on. Most importantly, keep your focus on God, and He will always work things out.
Do not slack off in high school. There is not always available time like you have in high school. Practice on not procrastinating then instead of now. It is harder to make the transition when you wait until the last minute to do your homework. Time is important and you cannot get it back at three in the morning with a six page paper due in the morning. Stay on top of your work and do not stress the small things. Right now they seem as though it is the end of the world, but in all reality it is just a small bump in the road. Moving out is not all that it is cracked up to be. Therefore, be grateful to your parents and what they give you. Never take them for granted.
If I were speaking to myself as a high school senior, I would tell her to make sure she stayed focused on her schoolwork. I would tell her that she should not worry about what she is missing if she decides to stay home and study instead of going out with friends. There will be plenty of time to hang out and make fun memories, but school should be a top priority. She should study hard, then reward herself with fun stuff. During the first semester of college, it is easy to get distracted because everybody is establishing new friendships and exploring the new place they are in. Stay focused on the reason for college: to learn and prepare for the future.
I have gained a quality education from a balanced biblical perspective. I am in a community called to integrity and excellence. I have grown in my relational skills. I have gleaned from amazing professors who are personable and take their personal time to speak with me about anything. I have received practical application that doesn't just come as head knowledge. And as someone contemplating graduate school, I have received a variety of classes from an accredited biblical institution. Our school is less than half the cost of most private schools. I have made really good friends here.
Take school seriously. THere are students in other countries, who will take a position as a student in an instant. Study hard, friends who are honest and loyal comes second to school. School is not something to take for granted, but is something to be thankful for, and to realize that this will dictate what I do for the rest of my life. The more I decided to take seriously, the farther in life I can go. Grades are important and school is what gets the better paying jobs as well. Learn to love what I study and hear, and learn to apply what I learn to my life, not just to paper.