Dear High School Girls Applying to Colleges,
Hi, it's me, Becca Stokes! You don't know me, but I know you. Okay, that sounds creepy. I should say, I once I was you. Now I'm not. Now I'm 31 and very, very wise and almost always remember to do my laundry and make my bed (sometimes.) Because I am so learned and heavy with experience, I decided to write you this quick note about choosing where you want to go to college.
If you're very lucky, you've probably got a best friend. She's exceptionally dope, I'm sure. She's probably also got some college plans, and I don't think it's entirely outside the realm of possibility that they two of you have discussed going to the same school, and maybe even being roommates. That's sweet. But stop taking measurements of your furniture and do not darken the doors of Bed Bath and Beyond just yet, because there are a couple of things you haven't considered about this whole plan. I'm not trying to rain on your parade, nor tell you how to live your lives – I just want to offer some food for thought when it comes to picking schools.
College is a time to experiment
This is a cliché, but it's one for a reason. Think about it: starting out at college is one of the few times in your life where you get a blank slate. I'm not saying you're going to shave your head and tell everyone that you prefer to be called Button, but if that's an identity you want to try on, you should be able to do it without someone (no matter how beloved) from your past rolling theirs eyes and being all, "Nice haircut, Dolores." (Because in this scenario your name is also Dolores.)
Maybe that seems selfish to you, and I guess to a certain extent, it is. But there are also some not-so-selfish reasons to go someplace different than your bestie.
Sharing your independent experiences makes your friendship stronger
When you two chat via Skype or Gchat or FaceTime or the power of telekinesis (props to your mental bonds, yo) you'll have so much new info to share. Rather than continuing down one shared road, you've branched out and, as such, you'll more experiences to bring to your friendship. Double the college antics, double the life lessons. Sometimes sharing thoughts about your separate lives can be as great of a bonding experience as actually living life together. Doing something new on your own and enjoying it doesn't mean your friendship is DOA. Sure, it might take some navigating, but even the best relationships require work.
There's also the obvious stuff
Like, you love your best friend but she's a slob and you're a neat freak. These two things don't blend so well in a cramped cinderblock-lined cell of a room. You don't want to harm your friendship with something that's so easy to avoid. Also, you want to study painting and she wants to be a biologist. These are both noble pursuits, but you might each be eyeing different schools – and that's okay! You should both pursue your passions trusting that your bud will be there rooting you on, because you know that's what you'd be doing for them.
No matter what, you're about to enter a crazy chapter of your life. It will be crazy awesome and crazy intense and I can almost guarantee that some night will find you sobbing on a corner into your Boone's Farm (you might not know yet, but you will soon, I promise) about how sad you are that Joe Jonas will never love you. Shit happens. Your true friends are always going to be your friends regardless of what obstacles you face. In fact, ideally, the time you spend apart learning, growing, and changing will bring you even closer together once your college days are done.
Thanks for listening. Have fun with all that copious youth you got there. I'm going to resume being old as shit now.
PS - Other important college tip: There is absolutely no shame in taking off your shoes and dancing on the odd table like a riotous, fun-loving, fool. None at all, I say.