Dear college freshman me,
Hey, you, congratulations on graduating and starting college. Hard to believe where the last four years have gone, right? I know that feeling; I’m experiencing it right now. Friends are out and I’m sitting at home, being pensive and writing this letter and doing the homework that you waited until the last minute to do (Pro-tip: don’t do that).
I wanted to tell you what the next four years are going to be like, just a little heads up. You might not believe me and you certainly won’t understand everything, but I promise you it’s true… and all for the best.
You will cry your first day (you’ll cry the last few as well and some in between too). It’s okay, almost everyone does; go get dinner at the cafeteria, food always helps. And while you’re there you’ll meet a girl who is going to become one of your best friends. You’re going to meet a lot of your best friends over the next few days and weeks and months and years. You’ll meet lots of friends, some of whom you’ll lose and that’s okay. The same will happen with many high school friends. But those best friends, don’t you ever let them go. You’ll laugh together and cry together and fight together, but all of it is because you love each other.
You’re going to discover something about yourself and it’s going to completely change your life. Embrace it; you’ll be happier than you’ve ever been before. It’ll be terrifying at first and you’ll try to hide it. But you’ll eventually tell a few and then like a rock rolling down a hill, you won’t be able to stop. It’ll also break your heart. You’ll break others and others will break yours and you’ll break your own. But you’ll heal, and you’re going to heal others. And it’s going to give you such a sense of purpose and identity that will completely change the course you’re on. Love yourself and love it and love others.
Speaking of that change of course: You’re going to change majors. Yes, biology to psychology. You’re going to love that too. The psychology department is just so amazing and you’re going to do pretty well. Then you’ll get into graduate school! The change will be hard though – many people will question if you’re doing the right thing. They’ll challenge you. Don’t resent them for it because they are doing it out of love for you and your well-being. Stay on that course; be confident, do what it takes, and they’ll get right behind you.
Tell your family and friends you love them. Tell them often. You couldn’t do it without them. Spread love in general, the world could use it.
Stay confident, trust in yourself and trust in others. College is hard and life is hard, and there are going to be many times where you have no idea what you’re doing, let alone if what you’re doing is right. In fact, graduating and going to grad school is one of them. Have faith and go with your gut. Consult others but when it comes right down to it, you know what you’re doing. You’re going to make decisions that others will criticize and you’re going to make decisions that you kick yourself for and often it will be both. Do not hate yourself for it. Have no regrets. Everything you do will impact you in some way and that is always good.
But don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are not perfect and you are not Superman and though you think you’ll be able to take it all on by yourself, you won’t. I’m not saying don’t take it all on because there are so many things you’ll take on that you’ll love and that will change you. But others want to see you succeed and want to help you but you have to go get that help. Remember, everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end.
College is absolutely, unbelievably, incomprehensibly amazing, life changing and good. Enjoy it because it will go by fast. And though one day you’ll reach the end and will sit in your chair in your apartment writing this letter, tears in your eyes, terrified to leave it behind, terrified for what’s ahead, remember this: It wouldn’t hurt so much to go if you hadn’t loved it so much, if you hadn’t done it all so right. You didn’t just believe in the possibilities, you made them a reality.
Don’t ever stop believing. I love you.