It may be hard to believe but there is actually life outside your hometown. Seeing the culture of college is an eye opening experience. Right now, in your hometown people are generally the same. Your friends shop at the same stores, you all use the same ‘lingo’ when you talk to each other, your parents are probably very similar, and come from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. You all probably have a similar idea of what is fun to do during the week, after school, and on the weekends. You drink similar drinks, you may even eat similar foods. There are certain things that are cool and there are certain things that aren’t cool. Life is normal for you right now. When you go to college, the term ‘normal’ very quickly becomes your own personal preferences, there is no general ‘normalcy’ at college. You will find that everyone comes from different backgrounds, and I don’t just mean someone from another country but people from different states within the U.S. are even different. I grew up in NY, went to college in Connecticut and found that people from New Jersey and Massachusetts were even very different than me. Take advantage of this! The more types of people you meet, the more you venture out of your hometown bubble the more socially aware you will become. This is important because the world is a small place and the better you can interact with different types of people, the better your communication skills will be. Transitioning from your hometown to a world outside of your hometown, even if it’s just one or two states away will be pleasantly surprising. You will learn that life outside your high school is actually exciting, not scary, maybe even a breath of fresh air. It is also an amazing learning opportunity. Once you come to this realization… keep growing, keep traveling. Every day is a learning experience in college because you won’t be stuck in the monotony of a high school day and you won’t be surrounded by the same types of people all the time. Embrace differences and more importantly be aware that people are different and that that’s okay. Before you start judging the new people you meet, know that every person you meet has a story. So yes… there is much more life outside of your hometown and outside of the walls of your high school and it is very different. Be aware – be excited – be nice… because I said so.