August is the month of inevitable goodbyes and exciting hellos. As the graduating class branches off on their different paths, friendships that have grown since childhood begin to ‘lax. And although high school sweethearts separate and diaper buddies learn how to be their own people, it’s important to remember that the faint silver lining is still there - new hellos, new relationships, new everything. No longer are you defined by your small little ‘burb, you are now a college student. You’re allowed to explore an almost endless number of paths that exist, and you even get credit for pursuing them.

“I want to be able to do everything I wanted to do in high school, without limitations,” said Matthew Lenahan, an incoming freshman at Saint Joseph’s University.

Lenahan, among others in the Bridgewater-Raritan High School Class of 2014 feel that they are going into college not blind, but prepared. The thing about high school is that it takes you in as a feeble freshman, then spits you out as a stronger senior. It just happens. You don’t realize when it’s happening, how it’s happening and even if it is happening. All the late nights on Sparknotes and pop reading checks seem like the worst things to happen to you, but once you let them happen, you grow.

Sign Up for E-News

“Without a doubt, I’m a completely different person than I was four years ago,” Lenahan said.

Four years later, we are no longer running around with schedules or asking if a three-ring binder is required. We begin to shape into our own selves. And right as we find our niche, and make our friends, and fall in love with life, the transition begins.

Lenahan explained that the transition may not be huge, but it will be rapid.

The transition might be one of the hardest things you will ever do. Did high school really prepare us for every single aspect of college? Did that AP test that we somehow managed to get a 4 on really promise that we knew everything there was to know about Environmental Science? Will we be okay?

Veda Pejaver, a rising junior at the University of Maryland and an alum of BRHS, majors in Physiology and Neurobiology with a minor in International Development and Conflict Management.

Pejaver was hit with the transition the first time her parents came to visit her at college after she had fully settled in. For the first time, the roles were reversed. She got to show them her own campus, her room, her area and her new life.

“I felt a strong sense of independence and confidence in myself,” said Pejaver. “Which is how I would say I’ve changed the most since high school.”

While the independence and confidence came in time, her strength in academics had already been pre-established, thanks to the only California-style campus in New Jersey - Bridgewater-Raritan High School.

For her and many others, the AP tests were what truly tested them. Advanced Placements and Honors might give us some premature gray hairs, but the work ethic and demand is what counts. The taste of a harder class only helps develop thinking skills that will eventually come in use for college courses.

August  is the month of inevitable goodbyes and surprising hellos. It’s more importantly the month where you realize that everything you’ve been stressing about since the moment you got your freshman schedule will be okay. At the risk of sounding even more cliche, the transition will be your lucky chance.

“You're put in a situation where you're away from your family, friends and all comforts, and it makes you look at things differently,” Pejaver said. “You develop your own view of the world and start to understand how you fit into that picture.”

In other words, graduates, you all are going to be okay.