Shonda Hilton
Shonda Hilton



As we have come to graduation season people will be starting the process of heading off to college, so I figured it was time to write this blog before it’s too late.

The time after high school can be a fun and exciting time and a time you will never get back. It is the time you need to take to go out and discover who you are and what you want from life. This is personally, professionally, career wise, etc. It is the perfect time to focus on yourself. But with that here is some wisdom I wish I had known when I graduated high school.

Opportunity is all around you

Have you been in the same place your entire life? Or have you moved so many times that the sound of 4 years in one place sounds great? This is the time for your opportunity. Your opportunity to move to the big city (or little college town), your opportunity to put down roots for 4 years and make some great long term connections. Make sure to take that summer internship if you want as that is an opportunity you may not get presented again.

Take the opportunity to be spontaneous! Go on the weekend trips with new friends. Join the sorority of your dreams, the clubs that interest you, go to concerts, connect with the mentors, the list of opportunities goes on and on. Don’t think the only opportunity around you is academic only. Some of the best relationships you can form could come from college, and the experiences you create could end up opening a door, outside of the academic doors.

Do not fret and be closed minded about your “only major option”

There are so many options for you it is not even funny. If you haven’t decided yet what you want to be “when you grow up” that is ok. This is the time that you get to figure it out. The first year of college especially will be all of your standard classes. If you have an idea of what you think will be the “perfect career” or “job” take a class and see if it actually feeds your soul.

What do I mean about feeding your soul? Well just because a job or career looks good on paper and may pay well doesn’t mean it is perfect for you. Think about it. This is something you are potentially going to be doing for 20-30 years (maybe more) after you graduate. If it doesn’t feed your soul now it definitely won’t by then.

Your happiness truly matters. Picking a perfect major will help you in life. Do not pick a job simply because it is socially acceptable or because a family member chose that path and now you are feeling you need too as well.

After your first year if you still feel strongly about a major then by all means pursue it with everything you have. No one could’ve told me I wasn’t going to be nurse. That was just what I knew I was “meant” to be at the time. While I have enjoyed the opportunities, I have been given being a nurse it doesn’t mean that going after another career that feeds my soul like photography wouldn’t have been a great option as well.

A great thing for you right now is your young and have very little tying you down. You have the time to figure out what you want to do and what makes you happy, all the while keeping your expenses low. You can always end up going with the safe route but don’t regret not doing something that will bring you happiness just because there is a small amount of risk.

Who you are (or who people think you are) in high school is not the same person you will be after… I say It again. You will change

Whether you thought high school was the best times ever or you were more like me and couldn’t wait to forget about high school, you really do need to forget about it.

The things that defined you in high school are not what will define you in college. People won’t know what you scored on the SAT’s, no one will know you were a jock, cheerleader, book worm, band player, etc. And they (as a whole) won’t care. Each and every one of you are there to start a new chapter of your life.

You are all on a level playing field…. If you weren’t popular at high school guess what… the popular kids are now just like you at whatever college they are attending (or if they went straight into the workforce, companies don’t care if they were popular). It sounds harsh but it’s the truth.

While you will all talk about your accomplishments in high school, your memories, experiences, etc. this is the time to make new accomplishments, memories, and experiences.

Don’t wait to go to college

This is my plea to you. Don’t be like me. Wait what? Yes, I just said that. I thought I had the world figured out when I graduated high school. I was 17 and SICK AND TIRED of school. I hated every second of it. I was made fun of from kindergarten through 12th grade. I went to large schools and yet still managed to have people and groups make my experience awful.

I took that and said forget this. I though college would be like that as well. I was wrong! I took a couple of years off before I started college. Got a full-time job, got engaged, got debt. When I went back to school I didn’t go back carefree and ready to have a fun time. I went after work at night and studied during my lunch at work, nights and weekends. When my husband went out I stayed home. I had to go part time and sometimes take a semester off because I couldn’t afford to go since I had all the “adult” responsibilities. Which later right before graduation included having a baby (he was planned, we knew what we were getting into and I wouldn’t change that). Just saying it did add an extra level of stress.

Go to college now. Get it done. Do not drag it out. It took me 8 years to finally have my degree in nursing after graduating high school. And that is a regret of mine I will always have.

Go get in there while the timing is PERFECT!


Best of luck to you no matter what your journey becomes!


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