06/26/2014 10:39 am ET Updated Aug 26, 2014

Class of 2014, We've Come A Long Way

This is part of our monthly series 'Mission: Accepted,' in partnership with Minds Matter, which chronicles the lives of four students as they apply for college in their senior year.

It's that time of the year! Finals are winding down, APs are done, prom and graduation are right around the corner, and pre-prom parties are a-brewing. It is definitely fun reconnecting with old friends at pre-prom parties and seeing how much they have grown. Four years can really mature a person and it is a beautiful thing to see how my friends have grown and where they are headed to in the next stage of their lives. I have known many people, myself included, who have blossomed from shy individuals to beautiful, confident individuals.

It might have taken a while, but I finally have all my things together for prom in a couple of weeks. Now, we ladies have a lot much more to do than the gentlemen. I had to prepare my dress, shoes, clutch, accessories, makeup, nails, etc. The limo has finally been arranged even though there were a few bumps in the road. I encourage everyone to start making their arrangements early! When prom season comes around, prices go up and event people get booked early. Ultimately my planning was a success, and I cannot wait to experience the one night everyone in high school has been waiting for these last four years.

As the end nears, I have truly been enjoying these last few weeks with the Class of 2014. Everyone has become more relaxed and school is much livelier because most of the school work has been lifted off our shoulders. Yes, I have become quite sentimental and sometimes even stand alone in my school hallways reminiscing of the first and many times I walked through them over the years. Surely, I am excited for a new life in higher education, but I think it is truly important to take a look back and reflect on how far we have all come. I look around me and I see so many eager faces ready to take a step into the real world and they are determined for success.

The same apprehensive eyes that came through the doors September 2010 are walking out these doors June 2014 with open eyes ready to take on the world. We have all come a long way and it is just really amazing to see how much hard work we have put in these past four years. I am grateful to have been able to receive so much support over the years from family, friends, mentors and teachers. I don't know where I'd be today without the "village" that raised me and I look to the future with bright eyes as I am determined to make a difference.