Transition Summer


by Guanani

Senior year is just about over.

Hopefully most things are in order; you know where you’ll be going, you’ve wrapped up your last semester, and you’ve figured out how you want to celebrate graduation. Only three months stretch ahead before the bold frontier of the future…

Wait, only three months?!

The realization that I would be moving more than 500 miles away and leaving everything I knew behind in mere months was a delayed-reaction shock for me. In a haze of pre-nostalgia and panic, I made several drafts of packing lists, checked the Reed website every day to make sure I didn’t miss any important information, and wrote up a summer bucket list of things I wanted to do before leaving.

These preparations helped me get ready for the move to college, but I felt sad and woefully unprepared emotionally for most of the summer. I was excited to live somewhere outside of Minnesota and begin a new chapter in my life, but leaving my family and friends behind was heavy in my heart even when I was doing fun things with them.

If I could talk to myself from last summer, I would tell her:

  1. Calm down
  2. You aren’t leaving forever, these people will still be part of your life when you come back
  3. You won’t have time to read all those fun books in your suitcase 😦

That being said, I do recommend taking steps to make sure you don’t miss any important announcements from the college you’ll be attending, especially with all the forms and paperwork they will need for housing, registration, orientation events and health insurance. The bucket list was also a lot of fun to complete, though I really didn’t need to be so heavy-handed about it being the last time I’d get to do fun things at home. Figuring out what you need to pack well ahead of time makes the already difficult last week before moving less stressful, and the fewer things you bring with, the better.

I had a lot of fun during my transition summer: I hung out with friends, swam in the Chain of Lakes, read good books for fun, and finally got my drivers’ license.

However, the persistent worrying about everything being “the last” was unpleasant and unnecessary, and made the last two weeks especially difficult. Everything was ready except for me: my flight to Portland was booked, my boxes were packed, and most of the items on my bucket list had been checked off. The last days before leaving were filled with fretful goodbyes: everyone wanted another hug, another picnic or sleepover before I had to leave.

Everything felt irreversibly final, like walking toward a cliff. Looking back it seems overdramatic, now that I’ve built a home away from home and found friends in college. But it was very real at the time.

The summer after senior year is an odd one. Even if the transition feels awkward, or like it’s going by too fast, or you can’t wait to just get out of the house, it should also be enjoyable. Spend lots of time with your loved ones and read for fun while you can.

You’ve come a long way, and it’s time to relax and prepare for wherever you’re going.

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