1. Conflicting desire to leave.
The summer before college is weird, because you are almost split entirely 50/50 between “I can’t wait to get out of here” and “I can’t believe this is over, I want to stay where it’s safe and comfortable.” Even within the span of one day, you can go back and forth between the two extremes 100 times, because something will remind you how much you love your home just 20 minutes before some stupid drama in your friend group reminds you how much you want to escape it all. And you’re never really sure which one you feel more.
2. Nostalgia for a place you haven’t left yet.
Sometimes, during this summer, you’ll be walking around your familiar neighborhoods, or sitting in your favorite coffee shop, and all of a sudden it will hit you: “This isn’t really my home anymore. Sure, the roots will always be here, but I’m making my home somewhere else, and I’m going to have all-new ‘familiar neighborhoods’ and ‘favorite coffee shops.'” And even though you’re sitting right in the middle of your hometown, it suddenly feels really far away, and you have all of this nostalgia for it. Before you’ve even left.
3. Sudden appreciation for your friends.
Maybe it’s just my friends, but we tend to create a lot of drama. There’s always some love triangle, or someone who is mad at someone else, or an argument that happens in the middle of a party. But at the end of the day, no matter how much we can get on each other’s nerves, we love each other and are really tight. We know each other in a way that no one else really does, and a lot of us share the friend “firsts” you remember for the rest of your life. (I’m sure that I will have a lot of incredible parties at college, but something about sharing a couple bottles of wine in a neighborhood cul-de-sac with 10 of the friends you grew up with will be hard to replace.) Right before you leave them, you have a sudden appreciation for all you have with them in the first place.
4. Sudden adulthood panic.
It really hit me when I signed on my student loans. And then when I had to sign up for classes. And then when I started to get all of my stuff to live on my own. You don’t realize how much of a kid you really are until you have to start making grown-up decisions, and pay for things that you never even realized cost money. What if the colleges we’re choosing, or the majors we’re pursuing, or the loans we’re accepting, are not the right choice for us in the long term? Suddenly the decisions we’re making have an impact on the rest of our lives.
5. Chronic FOMO.
You always think you will have another chance to see this friend, or go to that party, or have that experience. And then your friends start leaving one by one, and you realize you’re leaving soon, and all of the things you’ve been putting off until tomorrow (the trip to Six Flags, the lunch with your friend, the day at the park) have an expiration date. And sometimes it feels like you’re crippled by constant FOMO, because what if you missed the last really fun party all of your friends are having, when you’re all together?
6. Parental appreciation.
This is going to be corny, but whatever, it needs to be said. You don’t really appreciate all your parents do for you, and how much you love being around them, until you realize you’re about to leave them. And yes, sometimes it can be annoying when your mom is constantly bursting into tears at the thought of you leaving, but the truth is, you get choked up, too. Our parents do so much for us, and sending us to college is both the happiest and saddest moments of their lives, so it’s hard not to feel really appreciative of all they do. And there’s going to be a little part of all of us that doesn’t want them to go when they drop us off at our dorms for the first time.