“Listen, you are at a peak,” warned the headmaster of my high school, just a year ago. “You have reached a high point. From now until graduation you are in complete control. These could very well be the best days of your lives. Make them count, and say thank you to those who matter along the way.”
The following weeks included senior prom, tennis season with a team I had been on for years, late nights on campus with friends and teachers, Friday night bonfires, and school days that consisted of more time spent outside playing frisbee than spent inside a classroom. It was the time of my life. I was on a high.
Then, after graduation, everything changed. Emotional, vulnerable, and heartbroken, I was scared that my life would never be the same.
Starting college, I trusted my existing relationships, but I knew that they were evolving. No more late-night ice cream runs with my best friend or last minute sleepovers where we’d spend hours in the kitchen talking to her mom. No more Sunday night family dinners or drives to school with my brothers singing to Ed Sheeran. No more cuddle sessions before bed with my little sister. I was scared.
I thought back to when I was 15 years old. The summer of 2013, my last summer at sleepaway camp, was full of giggly all-nighters, days spent by the lake, dance parties, and genuine bliss. When that summer came to a close, I was at a similar low point.
Looking back on it, my post-camp grief seems ridiculous, but it makes sense that I was so sad to leave it behind. Sleepaway camp provided me with a community and a home away from home that I didn’t know I would ever have again. However, I still talk to my camp friends every single day, and our relationships have grown along with us.
Because I’ve been through a transition period before, I am now optimistic that I will eventually find my place at Harvard. Sure, it may be on a different scale than in high school, or at camp, but with time comes experience and, naturally, a sense of belonging.
For the past six months as a freshman, my life has been filled with more highs and lows than ever. The inconsistency of college perpetuates this roller coaster-like sensation.
In three short years, I’ll hopefully be at a high point. I will have to brace myself for another life-changing transition as I prepare to graduate. Without the instability and rapid speed of change, we would never grow as individuals, and we wouldn’t learn from our experiences.
Now, I am over an eighth of the way through college, and I don’t mean to invalidate the emotions that come from these highs and lows. Maybe there will come a point when the change will subside, and my life will feel more stable, or not. But at least for now, the heartbreaks, the tears, and the moments of uncertainty are the only constant. So, while everything is changing rapidly, instead of worrying about the highs and lows, I should just embrace the journey.