What to Expect When You’re Expecting… High School Graduation

A lot of people have been asking about what to do between the awkward, busy, chaotic, weird gap between high school and college. I remember being there. It was strange. I had all of this energy to put toward my new school, but I wanted to finish out my time at my high school. As much as I wanted to get involved at Hope, there was nothing I could do yet, as I wasn’t on campus, and 8 months out from the school year starting.

I literally creeped so many blogs, academic pages, reviews, professors, etc from Hope, just to try and pull Hope a bit closer to the in-between phase I was in.

So, retrospectively, here are some things I wish I would have done as a second semester (second/third trimester) senior before I went to college, in no specific order. P.S. My number one tip is the last one 🙂 Enjoy.:

  • Read a bunch of books for fun. Once you get to college it takes dedication and willpower to sit down and divulge in a book for entertainment. It’s possible, but if you’re not used to studying a lot, it probably won’t be easily accomplished.
  • Get your nutritional act together. I took for granted that my mom made my dinner every night and I didn’t have to plan anything. I ate junk food a lot, and I wasn’t very mindful of when and how often I ate. It’s a lot more difficult in college to practice portion control and maintain healthy choices, especially when there is soft serve ice-cream, a cereal bar, and dessert bar sitting in front of you at every meal. So, start to think smarter about it. The desserts will always be there, yo. 
  • Go to the doctor/dentist/hair salon/health department/get your oil changed/etc. This may seem silly, but when you get here, appointments are hard to fit in and it’s especially difficult to maintain relations with departments and doctors from home. I know a lot of people keep their family doctor from home, but with the frequency of doctor’s appointments I was required to go to, I ended up finding a physician, neurologist, and physical therapist in Holland. Even if you don’t really need these kinds of things, keep it in the back of your mind. 
  • Get a job, but not one that takes all your time and energy. With the prospects of college (and a big student loan) around the corner, I picked up a million hours before starting as a freshman at college. Though my bank account was happy for a little while, I was stressed. I ran from job to job and felt like I never got a break. Keep your life enjoyable and stress-free. You have a lot of time to worry about money, so why stress so much now? 😉
  • Love on your family AND your pets. I bet you haven’t thought a lot about the lack of animals at college. Believe me, it is ruff sometimes (haha). I always miss my cats, dogs, and even chickens, it’s bizarre. Though animals are not extinct in Holland yet, it is sometimes difficult to find one you can spend quality time with. You never know though, trips to a professors house to see their dog may be in your future. Oh, and of course you’re probably going to miss your family. So don’t forget to spend time with them too, even if it’s something really lame with your mom.
  • Travel with your high school friends. Ya. I know you’ve heard it. You won’t be friends with your high school friends. Some people still are. It’s just that you no longer are in the same place taking the same classes at the same time, so you surprisingly don’t have a lot in common anymore. Everyone follows different paths, and this is where life separates us a lot of the time. Take some time out of your schedule to go to Cedar Point with your favorite group, or even just hanging out in your basement being weird. You will love to look back on the memories you created.
  • Enjoy yourself and the things you are doing. This seems like it should come naturally, but the summer before my college years, I was so busy and so stressed out that I was not always enjoying myself. I wish I could have said, YO. You can stress later. For right now, just be.
  • Look for scholarships. So Ya. You still haven’t searched for scholarships, eh? You definitely won’t in college if you haven’t in high school. So take the down time to rack up some cashola and write a ton of essays that may score you a couple grand or two. 
  • Don’t start your homework early. Classic Freshman mistake. Just enjoy yourself yo. Your classes will be there during the year.
  • Go outside and play! I grew up in a pretty rural area, and I really miss grass. Like fields of grass that I can run through while laughing with my dog or biking on a dirt road never seeing a car all day. In college you spend a lot of time indoors doing stuff. Not that it’s not fun. It’s just not outside. Work on your tan, because for the next four years you’ll be ghostly. 
  • If you go to private school with uniforms: Learn how to dress yourself. I never really thought about this, as I went to a public high school (though I didn’t have exceptional fashion taste), but a couple of my friends came from private school where they were restricted to uniforms from 7-5pm M-F and sometimes Sunday. WOW. If this is you, I guess you need to go shopping and Pinterest a lot of outfits right now. 
  • Look at extracurriculars: It’s never to early to creep the Hope extracurriculars and think about clubs, sports, Intramurals, and other activities that you may want to be a part of. Don’t be afraid to ask any of the student bloggers for advice on any activities. We all know SOMEONE in something that you’re interested in.
  • Contact your roommate, get together? This won’t happen until middle to late summer. But keep it in the back of your head. It’s never too early to chat it up with your soon-to-be-bunk-buddy.


Here it is:

JOB SHADOW: Oh my gosh. I can’t tell you how helpful it was for me to job shadow. I had a good idea of the field I wanted to go into as a senior. And LET ME TELL YOU. There is a ladder of difficulty when shadowing professionals. As you go up the academic food chain (i.e. high school, undergrad, professional/graduate school, etc) it becomes increasingly difficult to shadow in the real world because people seem to think that because we are learning a ton of new skill sets, WE WANT TO TRY THEM OUT. Well, it’s probably true in some cases. I wouldn’t mind doing brain surgery right now, but that’s beside the point. See if your dreams and future plans really do lie where you imagine them to be. Maybe you’ll find something better along the way!

TIP: If you’re bored job shadowing, you’ll probably be bored working there. Just sayin’.

Have questions, tips for blog posts, crucial details I forgot to mention, or something else you suggest I add to my list?? Email me at amanda.porter@hope.edu or tweet me @hopeamanda15.


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Published by Amanda Porter

Hi! I'm Amanda. I'm from Traverse City, Mi and I'm a Junior Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major. I do research for the Fraley lab on the gut bacterial ecology of Pekin ducks and I work for the Chemistry department! Aspiring Neurosurgeon and LOVE to learn in all situations. Follow me on Twitter! @hopeamanda15