The day before senior year started, I was honestly already sighing about swinging back into the daily dreaded routine of waking up at 6am (but actually...more like 6:30), tests, homework, people, and a new friend of stress walked in to the list of things to do - college applications and SAT's/ACT's (ohhhh noooo let's not talk about that)! My emotions were a combination of all the angry, stressed, crying, and annoyed emojis (and for those of you who use emoji's, you know there's too many to count). I was already ready to be done. I remember typing a text to a friend/mentor of mine saying, "Ugh, I'm so ready to be wearing my cap and gown and to walk across the stage and get my diploma. I don't want to have another crappy year (the people who know me closely already know this, but my junior year felt like I was walking through a fire)." As I pressed the send button, I started staring into space smiling (you know how you'll think of something either hilarious or something that makes you smile and you'll just spend a long time either laughing your head off or smiling till your cheeks feel like they're going to fall off) as I imagine hearing my name called, walking across the stage like I'm a model doing her runway walk (I didn't actually walk like that...just so you know) and receiving the beautiful diploma that I had worked so hard for. My friend replied to my text saying, "Anna, enjoy this year of school! You don't want to look back at high school and only remember the times that were absolutely miserable." She was right. I knew I needed to enjoy my final year at Atholton High School regardless of trials that I faced. After all, I finally, truly knew that God would never put me through something that couldn't handle.
Senior year came and was over just like that. So many things changed for the good, and I must say I have learned a lot about myself, life, people, why things tend to happen, why people can be oh so mean sometimes, and the list goes on and on. I grew in every way possibly - mentally, spiritually, and yes, physically as I encountered several health issues. *rolls eyes but then thanks God that He has protected me and that I am alive and well now* As senior year began, I didn't have much to complain about because my classes were extremely easy, but things got real once I had to spend a numerous amount of time typing college essays and preparing for my standerdized tests. To the people who had to deal with me through that process: I bet you guys are either rolling your eyes or laughing at me right now. It's okay, because I can now laugh too about how stressed I was. Let's laugh together! HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA. Okay I don't know about you, but that was really fun.
Wait...I'm not done yet. HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Okay, I'm totally good now. I don't know about you guys, but I seriously love it when I was so stressed over something (depends on what it is) but then once it's all over and figured out, I can laugh about it!
Once graduation day came, it felt really surreal and I couldn't believe that moment was actually happening; but at the same time I COULD believe it was happening (I know, my brain is kinda a weirdo at times) because I worked SO hard to get there. There was a period of time where I didn't know if I'd make it to that special day that I will never ever forget. I made it a priority to make sure I let my family, teachers, and friends know how much they mean to me and how grateful I am to have had them by my side for the past four years. Guys, make sure you tell your loved ones REGULARLY how much you love them. Go do it, right now. Don't wait until you finish reading this, the post will still happily be here. GOOOOOOOO.
So, a lot of people are asking me - what now? For those of you who don't know, I will be attending York College of PA and will actually be starting in a few weeks. I'm doing a summer program where you take classes and earn credits. This is a really great opportunity, because it will give me a jump start getting used to college life. I'm SO excited to go to York, and I'm so happy I picked York after all of those headaches and endless tears; from applying to visiting to retaking my ACT's to seeing which school best fit once I finally got acceptances letters; choices to choose from.
This is a new journey, a new start! New challenges, a new home, new professors (that's getting weird to say, instead of teachers) new everything it feels like! New every day opportunities to seek, and I can't wait. In high school, I was literally the queen of comparing myself to others, so I didn't do as much as I wanted to do. I let my anxiety attack me, I didn't want to try out for this or join this because I was afraid of "getting judged" or "looking stupid." Well, guess what? WHO CARES? If it makes you happy hold on to it. Do you boo, do things for YOU. If people judge you, they're actually really judging themselves. It's really not our place to judge others; even though it may be hard at times not to, let me just scream this out: GOD is our one and only judge. I already know exactly what I want to join and get involved with in college, so I couldn't be more excited to start learning new things both inside and outside the classroom!
Although I am super pumped to begin this new journey, I'm also very nervous. For one thing, I've lived in the same house ever since I was born; so I've never moved and since I'm technically moving out, this will be a new challenge and something new to get used to. As much as I feel ready to spread my wings, I'm very attached to my family and many people back here in Maryland. I'm going to miss them, sometimes I'll have random breakdowns just thinking about it. I've always heard the first few months of college are the hardest, as everyone gets used to being away. I'm so used to sleeping in my own bed, showering in my own shower, and eating my mom's home cooked food.
The next thing I am probably most nervous about is....relationships. Let me get a tad more specific, relationships with BOYS.
Not just lip smooching romantic relationships, but just relationships with boys in general; as friends. I'm all about meaningful friendships that will last a lifetime. For me, if I do decide to get romantically involved with anyone, I am going to make 100% sure that he not only treats me and others well; but treats himself well. I also want him to love and pursue God more than anything. Okay, now that's just me getting off topic and talking about my dream man, so let's get back to why thinking of college boys/relationships keeps me awake at night.
If you've been paying attention to the news and have seen the case with the guys that graduated from Stanford, then you can probably guess; rape. The other night, I watched a documentary called "The Hunting Grounds." As hard as it was to watch seeing girls cry and share their experiences, I'm very glad that I watched and that I'm aware of it. Rape is so much more serious that I ever even imagined before. I honestly don't even know how to approach guys anymore if they don't seem safe. I am a very friendly, bubbly, happy, outgoing girl (um I guess I should say adult, because I'll be 18 in a little less than 5 hours) and it's always going to stay that way. But now I feel like if I approach boys with my smiley personality, I feel they will take it the wrong way (if you know what I mean). I will NOT let guys take advantage of me because of my sweet personality, and I will simply walk away if I don't feel safe. #byefelicia
I don't understand why guys (or anyone, for that matter) rape. If a girl says no, SHE SAYS NO. Take it and roll with it. Be a gentleman, and be a friend. Be kind, and respect everyone - physically and emotionally. I really want to spread this message not just throughout York, but everywhere; because this really needs to stop. Many people have to go through tons of therapy when they get raped, and I can't imagine how traumatic is it. Lord, I hope and pray that this never happens to me; I am going to do everything I can to protect myself and to shine light. Even though the thought of it happening scares the bejesus out of me, I can't let that fear stop me from living my life. Today as I sat by the pool, I said to myself, "Hm, maybe I shouldn't wear a bikini or wear shorts or tank tops, because who knows what a guy can be thinking of doing if I wear those things." But I told myself this, "Anna. Wear whatever you want that fits you and makes you happy. It's good that you are aware of this, but you can't keep letting your fear stop you from living your life. You know how to take care of yourself, and it's honestly all in God's hands."
It's all in God's hands. It's all in God hands. I repeat this to myself over and over again when I feel anxious and feel like I can't get out of my head. Try it, if you haven't. It helps so much. :)