The Class of 2016: Life is a bathroom and you’re at the end of the roll

LadewigYou know, a lot of seniors have been talking about how your high school experience taught you the power of friendship and all, but I didn’t need school to teach me that. I just needed to watch My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. But in all seriousness, school did you teach you guys a lot more than you give it credit for.

I can definitely tell you that I learned some things I will never, ever forget. Here, I’ll list them for you, presented in the classic ‘Did you know’ style.

Did you know that Henry the 8th was so insecure in his inability to produce an heir that he created his own church to divorce his wife?

Or did you know that the only kind of sig fig I will ever want is the kind in my bank account and not in my chemistry?

Did you know that macromolecules are just too large and sturdy?

Did you know it’s not a good idea to stay up until 4 am to write a paper when you normally wake up at 6 am?

Did you know that it IS a good idea to wear your safety belt in your car, so you don’t hot dog it?

I could actually go on for about 10 more hours, but honestly, who cares. Maybe you’ve forgotten what an electron is or refuse to use the oxford comma like a normal person, but fact of the matter is, you learned something. You learned to be resourceful (looking at you, Google.com), you learned how to make friends (or maybe you didn’t…), you learned how to manage time (maybe you didn’t), you learned that “Heart of Darkness” rips out your soul and turns your own heart to darkness, you learned to stand up for yourself, you learned what failure, success, disappointment, and happiness all felt like. You learned so much without even realizing it.

And, look, you’ve made it. You’re graduating. I know that I couldn’t fathom this for the longest time. Graduating, then leaving the sweet cocoon of my parent’s financial stability and loving embrace to go off to the indifferent, surreal universe of college. The possibility that I, Lindsay Ladewig, could face the very, very real fear of being alone in the dorm bathroom, where I wouldn’t be able to shout across the house, “Hey Mom, can you bring me some more toilet paper?” But that’s growing up. Mommy isn’t there to pass you the toilet paper.

That isn’t to mean you will be alone, though. You will find a support system of new friends at college and your family and old friends will still be a phone call away. You definitely will not be alone in the sea of college, because everyone is a part of the same school of fish–your peers want to graduate and be successful just as much as you do. Everyone is as scared of the loan sharks as you are, swimming away in a vast ocean of knowledge, praying that a hurricane doesn’t come and muck up their plans. You are not alone. And if someone tries to tell you they aren’t scared, or lost, or anxious about college, honestly, they are a dirty octopus, and they are not to be trusted.

While you shouldn’t trust those sketchy octopi, you should definitely trust and believe in yourself. It wasn’t an accident that you somehow ended up in this class, AP literature and composition, it wasn’t an accident that you are now graduating. You are smart, and you made it here yourself. And now, you should trust that you will do well in college, too. Trust me, you’re going to learn a lot more than how to pass finals.

College is where you’ll learn how to make a surf and turf with potatoes au gratin with just a shoehorn and a coffee pot. You’ll learn the practical applications of the seemingly random facts and equations you learned in these last four years. For example, you’ll be able to calculate how many liters of tears your laptop can hold without getting waterlogged and breaking.

You’re probably wondering how I know so much about college already. I don’t. I’m just a smart Alek. I am overcome with naivety and inexperience and hope. I am not humble, I am not wise. I know no more than the average Joe, than the average high school graduate. In four years, I will know no more than the average college grad.

What I do know, right now, is that college is an open door. A chance to reinvent ourselves, grow and learn and develop. Life is not a box of chocolates. You have complete and full control of who you will become and be in the next four years. It’s here, it’s time. It’s your chance to take.

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