How to Transition from High School to College
By Denver Lark
Denver is a part of the TLC College Ambassador Program and attends North Carolina A&T University.
The milestone between high school and college is one that is filled with exciting, memorable and stressful moments. Yes, there are the graduation parties and tears of joy, but there comes a time when the harsh realities of paying for college and even deciding where to spend the next four years or more of your life are closer than you think.
August 2015 is when all of this became a reality for myself. Application season was approaching. Fortunately for myself, I had the opportunity to visit North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University that upcoming October during “GHOE”. This is known as the “Greatest Homecoming on Earth”. From the “lit” nights to the tense football rivalries, it lived up to its title! During these few days, I knew that this was where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life. However, as the time came closer and closer to attending orientation, I realized that this was more than just any four years of my life, but the four that will mold me! College determines not only what I will become, but how I will survive and how I will live. High school was just a diploma saying that I had completed secondary school and could function in today’s workforce to a certain extent. But college is where I would receive a degree in anything of my choosing and it had to be chosen carefully. That is why it is best to make this decision solely at your own discretion and not based on what school is “poppin” or where your friends are going.
Senior year of high school was “one for the books.” This was when I realized the friendships I had developed over the past four years would soon take on their own paths. Some friends were headed to college, others were off to the Armed Forces. Unfortunately, not everyone's friendships can withhold so much. I've come to realize that the most you can do is stay in contact! Whether it's a good morning text or sending that hilarious Snap that allows you all to reminisce, don't let distance or circumstances end potential lifelong friendships.
The financial responsibilities weren’t a shock to me. Instead, they were overwhelming. I had worked not only my entire summer, but my entire senior year so I had more than enough money saved to pay for college expenses. At some point, I realized that all of this would be worth it once I received my degree and had that well-paying job. The problem was that I was baffled that I had to pay over $200 for just one book! That’s when I realized that all of those years of my elders telling me to save my money for college, and not to spend every dime I got was imperative! I’m glad I listened… to some extent. College is not necessarily about being a penny pincher because you have to live, but you should definitely apply for as many scholarships you qualify for and other forms of assistance. Nothing's better than spending your hard-earned money on a book and getting that money back quickly, or not having to spend your money at all.
Before you head off to college, enjoy the free laundry and even better, the home-cooked meals because for the majority, like myself, this is definitely missed. When I applied to college, I agreed to not only begin a new education, but to start a new life of new opportunities and experiences.