At this moment in your life things are about to take a drastic change. College life is going to be something that you have never experienced before. And on this very day, August 20, 2016, at 11:15 p.m., you are anxious, overzealous and full of curiosity. Who knows, maybe these feelings will last you a couple of months, maybe even a semester. Yet one night when the papers start to build up, the food starts to taste too much like cardboard or the call to go home might be too great, you might second guess your choice. This letter is to remind you to keep going, and to remind you of why you started in the first place, and to keep your head on straight.
For when the work keeps you up at night:
You have been up late most nights. Your eyes are heavy and your head is always fuzzy from the lack of sleep that tortures your brain. You feel as though you cannot think of another thought or type another word. You want to quit and just take the loss. I am telling you to suck it up and face the fact that you hate losing. Think of that hateful feeling you get when you see the looks on people’s faces when you didn’t finish it. Don't be that student that you hate! In the morning, after you realize that you gave up on your work, it’s going to eat you up inside. Then you are going to try to scramble and finish the work, but it won’t be as good because it is rushed. Remember what Dad always said, "Do the work now, so you won’t have to later." Think of all those long nights in high school when you had at least three projects and essays due the same day. Think of how good and relieved you felt when you finished everything and you could finally go to sleep. You got this! Go make a big cup of coffee, do a couple jumping jacks but just do not give up!
For when you are feeling alone:
You are never alone. Not only because there are over 1000 people at school, but because God will never leave you. Even though that might not be comforting, just think about it for a second. Think about all of those times you could have gotten in trouble, but God was that friend that talked you out of it. Think about the times that you cried yourself to sleep, but God was the shoulder you needed to cry on. He was there the whole time, even though you didn’t think to talk to him or ask him for comfort. Remember that it is OK to feel alone. This is your first time in school, so a visit back home, or even a call isn’t out of the question. Remember that you still have a ton of friends back home that would accept you with open arms. Just because you went away doesn’t mean you cannot come back to visit. Lastly remember that God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!
For when your heart is broken:
You have been through so much and you have overcome all of it. No matter what, no matter who he is or what he has done, You do not need him! You have gotten through so much in your life without him. Even if it isn’t because of a boy, you do not need anybody who was never there before. Remember who was really there when you needed a hand or a shoulder. Keep it moving because it’s just like TT used to say, “People come and go, so don’t cry over the ones that don’t stay because there will always be someone else." And she is absolutely right. Remember that you didn’t go away to school so that you could be Miss Popular, or find the love of your life. You left so that you could chase your dreams and make something of yourself. No matter what, remember that you are an exceptional, amazing and talented, black woman. You are one of a kind and they don’t make many women like you. You are special and I’m (you) not the only person that thinks so. Wipe your tears and get back to those books, gorgeous!
For when others doubt you because of who you are:
Go home and be with your family. Remember who and what you come from. Remember the greatness and the power that comes with your name. Remember when you were in fourth grade and you decided that you were going to college. Remember Mom saying, “It is your life, so you decide how you want to spend it.” Remember how proud you were of yourself when you made your first film. Remember how Mom would send copies of it to all of the family. Remember all the movie tickets that you and Dad had together. Remember the hugs that TT gave you that made you feel like everything would be OK. Remember how much you wanted to be just like your big brother and how proud you wanted to make him. Remember promising yourself you would be a role model for Javon. Remember that you have the opportunity that some of your friends did not have, remember Luz telling you, that you were amazing and you could do anything. Remember your resilience, your determination, your apathy for anybody’s hatred for your skills. Remember that you do what you do for yourself, not for anybody else. Remember that time you prayed to God begging him to show you the way, and to remove all and any distractions. Suck it up and put on your big girl pants and show them what you can do. Because your name is Mary Lanae Linen, and they do not know who they are dealing with. Remember all this and go claim what is yours because it was always yours.