On April 26, I officially committed to University of California, Santa Barbara. The following day, I signed my name onto Mrs. Eulau’s college map that she keeps in her classroom.

I will admit, I always saw myself spending my next four years on the East Coast, and being back among the slushy snow-filled winters and sizzling hot summers. Even though California’s famous sunny weather is nice and convenient, I always found myself missing the feelings I had as an elementary school student in Michigan after I saw the first snowflake of the season drift onto the playground floor; the bubbling excitement I felt as I sat on the edge of my little seat in class, waiting to be released for recess.

But that’s beside the point.

Throughout my high school career, the most nerve-wracking idea was college acceptance. Even during my freshman year, I spent hours Googling universities, the average GPAs, and SAT scores it took to be accepted into them. Then half of my senior year was spent worrying over college essays and resumes, while the other half was spent on worrying over the flaws in my college essays and how weak my resume looked compared to others (even though at that point, there was literally nothing more I could do other than let the fates decide my future).

When I received my first acceptance letter, I could physically feel the load come off of my shoulders. I felt relieved and blissful. I had finally accomplished one of my biggest goals that I had set up for myself. Sure, there were several rejection letters later on that put a damper on my day, but what mattered were the universities I WAS accepted to. So now that I had achieved that goal, what comes next?

Well, now there are a lot of things that subsequent that. Now my goal is to get through AP testings, finish my Dragon Talk, and to not trip and break my bones during the graduation ceremony. After that, it’s to graduate college. Then, it’s to find a job (and hopefully pay off the medical debt I accumulated from being hospitalized for the inevitable broken bones I get from graduation). Maybe afterward I’ll start a family or travel the world. I could learn how to cook or I could finally get to solving the annoyingly ambiguous question in life: is the Oxford comma really necessary?

But all jokes aside, life passes by fast and there is so much for us to discover and experience in the world. So don’t stay complacent! I mean, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t relax and unwind every once in awhile, but be mindful of the fact that there will always be a new and exciting objective waiting for you. And whether it’s a small or large goal, it’s the most efficient method to prevent life from just drifting past you. Finding something to work towards keeps you motivated, and quite frankly, keeps you from being bored. Because there’s only so many Netflix TV shows you can binge watch before life gets a little monotonous.

But now that the college acceptance chapter of my life is closed, it’s time to focus on the road ahead. I’m excited to live away from home, to room with my best friend at UCSB, and to bike around campus just to get to my classes. And as for all the other baggage my future packed for me: Well, all I can say is that I’m ready.

What do you think?