Sitting in the living room with my family at 11:59 on New Year’s Eve in 2021, counting down those last few seconds of the year, I realized something: I graduate this year.
I am done with high school this May, and then I go to college. As the new year began, all I could think about was how this new part of my life was starting and if I was ready or not.
The plan for after high school was always in my mind. I would graduate, go to college, graduate from there, probably get married along the way, have a family, work, etc. However, now this future isn’t as far away.
At the beginning of my senior year, I dilly-dallied when my parents wanted to talk about college, scholarships and the choice of furthering my education after college. I always made excuses of too much homework or needing to do something outside of my house. I avoided the reality of leaving my hometown. Until finally, I turned to God.
I told him how scared I was to leave my family, friends and loved ones behind. How scared I was to lose lifelong friendships. How much I dreaded to leave behind my three younger siblings, who had become three of my best friends over the years. How unprepared I felt to live away from my parents, who I turned to in my hard times. How I was nervous about picking a major, only to find out that I wouldn’t like it. Scared to open my eyes 15 years into the future and find myself working at a job I hated. Saying them out loud to God, I felt like I was staring at a giant chalkboard of notes, standing in the dust of the chalk.
I frequently prayed about my future, asking God to guide me to the college he needed me at. Soon, colleges I had applied for became unexplainably uninteresting to me. I just somehow knew I was not supposed to go there.
I strangely began to hear from friends who went to certain schools about how much they loved their school and how great the atmosphere was. I received more emails from other schools about their programs, which piqued my interest. My list of schools went from 15 to three or four.
I still do not fully know where I’m supposed to go to college, though I have a pretty good idea. However, all the fears and doubts I had about college have subsided.
I know that whatever college I end up choosing is the one God wants me to go to. My fears of losing friends have been drowned out by the prospects of finding new ones. My family will always be just a phone call away, and I know I’ll visit every break. I’m no longer avoiding the future because I have included God in the planning process.
Madeline Kennedy is a senior at Charleston High School. She attends Sacred Heart Church in Charleston.
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