A Letter From My High School Self To My College Self

A Letter From My High School Self To My College Self

To future me, you just read how you felt three days before your senior year came to an end, and now your freshman year of college is coming to an end.
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When I was a senior in high school my psychology teacher gave us one of the best assignments I have ever had- write a letter to ourselves a year from now.

When I got home for summer break I found that letter waiting for me, and I decided to share it. For those who just finished my freshman year like me it’ll provide some nostalgia, and for those seniors who are in the place I was a year ago, I hope you find it relatable as your last year of high school winds down.

It’s the time of year where we seniors are climbing the walls, wanting nothing more than to leave these horrid halls. But that’s not all I’m feeling. Lately, I have this continuous feeling to be excited about something. I couldn’t figure out what was causing this unwavering adrenaline, but then I realized I am excited to actually start my life. I’ve dreamed about and planned my future ever since I was a little girl, but for the first time my plans are actually happening and opportunities to make my dreams come true are literally a few months away.

For the first time, I don’t know what to specifically expect. Yes, I am always restless and ready for summer this time of year, but this time when August comes around I won’t be buying the same school supplies, going into another year at the same school, or knowing the just of what my life will be like for the next nine months. No, this time I have no idea what to expect. It’s absolutely insane.

I don’t know who I’ll be spending my time with or what I’ll be doing with that time. I just think it’s crazy that in four months I’ll be getting packed up and moving to a new home away from home. I’ll be rushing a sorority, which I have been looking forward to since I was little.

I’ll be meeting all these new people, and possibly make the best friends I’ll ever have. I could stumble upon the love of my life, who knows! Growing up in a small town and going to a big D1 school makes the change even more drastic. The kids I’ve known since preschool, the ones I have grown with, the people that have been a part of my life year after year, won’t be around every day. College is something I’ve spent my whole life thinking about, and planning; Now it’s actually here. The world is literally waiting for me, and I just can’t wait to start living in it.

To future me, above you read how you felt three days before your senior year came to an end, and now your freshman year of college is coming to an end. That’ll feel so crazy, I can’t even imagine right now, but there are a few things I hope you did... I hope you started out your college experience having the time of your life, I hope you’re coming home with no regrets, and that you’ve grown as a person. I hope you and Katia had some great times. I hope you love your sorority, and whatever else you chose to get involved in.

For the love of God, I seriously hope you didn’t gain the freshman 15. I hope you called mom a lot because right now I think a lot about how I’m going to miss her more than anything. I hope you came home for breaks and cuddled with Leo, and were nice to Bry. And I really hope you made mom proud in your schoolwork. You’re smart, and you owe her that. I hope that you ended up not having to take math, I mean fingers crossed right now. I hope you’re following a path that will make you so unbelievably happy.

I hope you have made some of the best friends you’ll ever have, I also hope you have kept in touch with the old ones. I definitely hope you have found a cute boy...or two to take home to mom because of priorities. I hope you’re still planning on studying abroad and exploring the beautiful world. I hope you’re tan and soaked up every last bit of Tallahassee sun. I really just hope you’re happy with where life is taken you so far this year. I’m excited for this, until then much love and farewell, I’ll read you next year.

Now as I’m here reading this, past me- you did it.

Cover Image Credit: Emma Moos

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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