Just 365 days ago, I was preparing myself to have the best summer yet. I wanted to spend every chance I could with family and friends before I set off on my first year college. Now, 365 days later, I wish I knew then what I know now. Looking back at the past year, I knew that there were unexpected things to come, but to my surprise, these things were better than I ever imagined. Know that you’re going to be thrown challenges with friendships, relationships and everything in between with both physical and emotional consequences. Coming from someone who experienced them all, you’re going to get through them. It's going to get tough. You’re going to lay in bed some days and wonder why you made the choices you did, but in the end you’ll come out a smarter and stronger person. This next year, you are going to meet people you never thought you would, make friends people very different from yourself, and experience things outside the realm of your imagination while having possibly one of the best years of your life. This letter is to you, the person I was a year ago, about all the things I wish I knew before now.
Like most 17 or 18-year-olds, you have a job. You are finally making money and receiving a steady paycheck each week. That's awesome and all but let me tell you from experience, don’t blow it on stupid things. You may think you need to buy a GoPro, a pair of expensive rain boots or even a bunch of useless clothes before you go away, but the fact of the matter is … You don’t. Save your money for opportunities down the road. Save your paycheck for a trip to New York before Christmas or possibly for a concert you’ve always wanted to go to. That being said, don’t work too hard either. There will come a time when you realize that you could be making more money if you worked more shifts. Although that may be the case, too much work can be detrimental. Spend time with your friends, have fun with family, and most of all, enjoy your summer. Summer is the only time when you’re not going to be stressing about your 17 credit course load, all the calories you ingested in the dining halls all year or about finals. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Sometimes the best things happen when they are unexpected. Don’t start off your summer with standards because odds are, they won't live up to your expectations. Let the experiences present themselves to you, don’t go looking for them. There are so many great things ahead: new friendships, memories and spur of the moment experiences for you to indulge yourself in. Don’t stress worrying about what is going to happen in the future but instead what is happening right now. Don’t be afraid to try something new even when new things may sound scary. There are going to be a lot of changes in these next few months starting with today. Don’t rush your summer along just because you want to go to school either spend time living in the moment and not a few months ahead after all, you never know, there may be something that keeps you from wanting to go away. There are so many memories left to be made in a few short months don’t let them fly by. Take every day for what it is and push yourself to try new things and make everlasting memories.
Lastly, there are going to be times when you get to school where you feel like you are on top of the world and days where you feel like you’re six feet under. Don’t let that discourage you from your end goal. Take the hits and enjoy the glory while they last because eventually it will all be over and things will fix themselves.
This year is going to be great. It's going to be filled with sweat, tears and a lot of work but at the end, everything is going to be perfect.