Opinion: I have the college jitters

Rachael Hudak, Opinions Editor

Art by Michelle Jin

After a year of interacting only with those closest to me, completing 11:59 p.m. assignments and discussion posts, and struggling to keep my eyes open for my 9:35 a.m. class, I feel criminally unprepared for my transition into college. Now, it is quite obvious that this feeling isn’t new—every year seniors are confronted with the weight of being on their own and moving past the familiarity of high school. But social isolation has presented a unique challenge, turning me—a self-proclaimed extrovert—into a home-loving hermit. It has turned me into a connoisseur of procrastination and a savant in worrying about the unforeseen future. 

And as my first day of college creeps closer and closer, I am left to wonder how in the world I’m supposed to move to a brand new city, make new friends, and find a career after sitting in my bed for the majority of this year, coasting through school, life, and whatever else came my way. Not only am I transitioning from high school to college, but I’m also making a shift from online to in-person school. I’m making a shift from a time where I didn’t talk to anyone, to arguably the most social four years of my life. 

To put it simply, I’m a mess. I feel like a house fish being thrown into the big, turbulent ocean of life, like a racecar speeding from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds. I’m merely a passenger on the steamboat of uncertainty, anxiety and self-doubt that the impending end of high school has brought me. 

And while some degree of uncertainty has been common throughout high school, it feels as though the pandemic has made the leap from high school to college astronomically larger, that my preparation for the academic and social rigor of college has plummeted to a record-breaking low, and that any ability I might have had to slowly ease into this next chapter of my life is now impossible. 

At the beginning of this year, I had a similar feeling to the one I have now: of not knowing what is going to happen, of wondering how the hell I’m going to get through it. Logging onto Zoom, talking to the same four people, and staying motivated presented significant challenges for me, but I threw myself into them with open (socially distanced) arms and made it to the end. 

This past year and a half confounded the notion that what is considered “traditional” equates to the best option. I got to work “asynchronously” and focus on the things I loved; I valued my small number of close friends; and I managed to stay awake for all (but one) of my class periods. 

Whether or not that means I’m ready to go off to college is up for interpretation, but conquering the blood, sweat, and tears that decorated the chaos of this year gives me some hope of figuring it out in college.