Op-EdKatie Cline, Editor-in-Chief

Hey, 17-year-old-Katie,

Your life is on the cusp of change—as you’re all too aware. You’re afraid of the unknown: where you’ll go to college, if you’ll make friends, if your new friends will replace your current ones, if you’ll ever find anyone who makes you as happy as your best friends do right now, if you’ll even still be friends with them in a year. And those are all valid fears. Spoiler alert: you’ll be worrying about all those things in four years when you get ready to graduate college, too.

I’m not going to tell you not to worry, because that would be pointless and you won’t listen. But I am going to tell you to embrace the change that comes. You’re going to do swimmingly. Don’t be afraid to waltz into college and be yourself: be loud; laugh too much; write all the heartfelt letters and make all the sentimental PowerPoints that you want to; be the “mom friend”; get teary-eyed when you talk about “Harry Potter”; raise your hand and make a comment about the play you had to read. People WILL love you for all of your quirks. You are not too much for people, and, if someone thinks so, then they’re not enough for you.

Change is going to grab you by the ankles and drag you kicking and screaming into the next chapter of your life whether you like it or not. I know you think nothing can be better than right now: you have amazing friends, great teachers, a finely polished routine—but, if it’s possible, it gets even better…or at least equally good in a different way. You make new friends (and you keep in touch with the old ones who matter); you excel in your fields; you get jobs and work experience that you actually love; you get so many new and exciting opportunities (I don’t want to spoil it all for you, but it’s pretty great!). Just go into this new experience the way you always do: head first and faking it ‘til you make it!

And here’s the thing: right now, you’re a high school senior who hates change and goodbyes. Four years from now you’ll be a college senior who hates change and goodbyes (some things don’t change). But you’ll be a little more relaxed about it, because, to quote Harry Potter, “I knew I could do it all this time, because I’d already done it.”

What you’re dealing with now WILL help you deal with things in the future. I promise. I’ve been there.

Much love, and don’t kill Eric. He’s useful sometimes.

 

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