When I took my first steps on a university campus last year, my hopes were high and I felt unbeatable. I had made it this far. Nothing could stop me. As a freshman, I had no idea about the kinds of obstacles I would face within my first few months of school. All of a sudden, a new life was thrown at me. A life with new people to meet, places to see, and in the midst of all of that, a new identity to create for myself. I thought the pressure wouldn't get to me, but I was wrong.
Eventually, when I looked in the mirror at myself, I barely recognized the person looking back. How do you find yourself again when you feel lost? How do you keep up with a fast-paced world, telling you how you should feel and act? At a time in my life when I felt the lowest, I needed my future self to remind me that my authentic self was more than good enough. So, for those who feel lost in the world right now, here's a letter from me to you.
Wherever you are (in school, working, or at home) I hope you know that your presence is valuable.
You are exactly where you need to be, even if the people around you seem to be two steps ahead. You are doing so well, even if you don't realize it right now.
Your hardest days might seem unbearable, but with each day that passes you are growing so much. Share your struggles with people you trust, instead of internalizing your fears. Seek help when you know you need it. Don't feel pressured to be strong every day.
It's okay to not be okay.
Being human means recognizing that sometimes we need a day off. Listen to what your emotions are telling you.
If you need to cry, cry. If you need to cancel on friends to destress, let yourself breathe. You are doing your best and that's all you can do.
If you have regrets or feel embarrassed about your past, remember that those mistakes are behind you. You are blessed with the opportunity to find ways, every day, to make up for those things you can't fix. Forgiveness is the key to moving forward.
Surround yourself with people that value the things you hold close. Your authentic self should never be watered down for the comfort of others. Talk about your passions, your failures and successes, your worries, and the things that make you laugh. Seek genuine interactions with people who see the world as you see it.
Your voice matters.
The person you bring to the table is strong, important, and worthy of respect and love. Don't underestimate the talents you've been given and the people you've inspired just by existing. Your dreams, personal goals, and future careers are only out of reach when you decide they are.
Finally, once you feel a little less lost in life, use your time to serve others. At least, look for people who are struggling as you were and offer your advice, your time, or just a listening ear.
Your journey is your own.
Sending you so much love and a virtual hug,