life after high school

We all go through two major transitional periods post-puberty at some point in our lives. We at the Everyday Owl have talked mainly about the one that comes later in life, what to do and how to function after college. But let’s take a moment to talk about life and that weird transitional period in life right after you graduate high school. Because let’s be real, it is a really weird time in life.

Life After High School

Moving or Staying

One of the first major decisions most of us on the “success sequence” life track have to make is whether we want to stay home or move out. And that decision plays a huge role in what college (if that is what you want to do with your life) you pick. Both options have pros and cons, but the two big ones are money and freedom. The first test of your mettle as an adult is figuring out which is more important and which is more feasible for your situation. I moved away, and I hated it. But that had more to do with the school I picked than anything. I transferred my sophomore year and didn’t look back.

Some people want to move as far away as possible to escape their family, super strict parents, or to reinvent themselves, while others want to stay home so they can save money and don’t have overbearing parents. I chose to move away. Not because I have overbearing or super strict parents, but because it would force me to grow and be more responsible. Lo and behold, it paid off. A few years later, I moved across the country for a job in the middle of a pandemic—one of the best decisions I ever made.

Friendships

Some friends will drift apart, and that’s okay. It shouldn’t take away from your friendship at that point in your life, but people grow. You might keep a friend or two from high school, but the vast majority will dip. I am the opposite. Most of my friends are from high school, but we grew even closer in college, as roommates, and now as full-blown adults. But the same will be true for the friends you make in college. They will be the rock that gets you through finals weeks. And nothing is more fulfilling than friendships that are put through fire and tested. To see the friends I made go from teenagers to therapists and soon-to-be husbands and wives and parents is a feeling like no other. 

Don’t limit yourself to past friendships when you get to college or whatever you decide post-high school. Live life and explore who you are and whom you want in your life. (Yeah, I know when to use who and whom. *mic drop*) Good friendships make a world of difference. Just know that friendships require more time and effort than before, like in high school. You have to schedule hangouts a week or two in advance, but that’s how you know it’s real. Having someone go out of their way to make time for you is true friendship. 

Finances

Cash is king. Depending on your upbringing, you might have a healthy or unhealthy relationship with money. Maybe you don’t know the true value, or you are too scared to spend a dollar; whatever the case, you will face that reality. Money is what makes the world go round. It’s something I never had to think about growing up, but what a slap-in-the-face reality I had to navigate almost immediately after graduating. Budgeting my money, taxes, rent, bills, and any other money drainer sent me for a whirlwind, but you learn, adapt, and overcome.

Sports After High School

I DO NOT miss high school at all. The only thing I reminisce about is organized sports. I played every sport under the sun from the age of 8 until I graduated high school, minus all the time I missed for injuries. And most of the time, organized sports are no longer a thing when you go to college. So unless you want to gain the Freshman Twenty as I did, make sure to go to the gym or join a rec league of some kind. You are in charge of your routine and schedule now. You are not mandated to be anywhere. If you want, you can skip class and lay in bed all day. You can eat fifty pizza rolls in one sitting if you can stomach it. It’s up to you how you want to live now, and setting good habits when you’re free and independent is harder than you might think.

You Are Capable

Life will throw a lot of different challenges, lessons, and obstacles your way after high school. It’s just the growing pains of becoming a real adult. Some might find aspects of the transition easier than others, but it’s not a race. So take each challenge with your chin up and face it head-on. You are more than capable. Find some small joys in life, work towards goals, and enjoy the freedom to explore who you are because there is no better way to spend those years.

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