An Open Letter To My College Self

To My Future Self, College Is Your Time To Shine

Please thrive in the unapologetic and genuine happiness you're about to experience.

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Ever since I was a little girl, I imagined my future self. It was always, "who will I be this time next year?" and I always surprised myself by how much I'd grown. With graduation next month, college is right around the corner, and it's time to get excited for the woman I'm going to become.

To college me, please take it all in.

Move-in day, sorority recruitment, the first day of classes, all of it. Move-in day will be one of the best and hardest days of your life because while you're ecstatic for the adventure you're about to go on, you're saying goodbye to the people who made you who you are today. You'll never get that day back, so please hug your family tight and don't argue with them about where your desk should be in your dorm or where to hang that family picture on the wall. Enjoy your first night in the dorm, shocked by just how free you are now that any parental authority in your life is miles away.

These will be the best four years of your life, so take it all in because if you blink, you might just miss it.

To the college me, please revel in the joy you experience. Please take no opportunity for granted and please remember how hard you worked to get to this moment. Live in the moment of each day and never be afraid to try something new, because you never know where it might lead. Enjoy the unbridled freedom of freshman year and being able to drive to the ocean or just Cookout down the road whenever you please with whoever wants to ride shotgun. These moments are fleeting and you'll never get them back after you graduate.

I already have amazing girls in my life now that are headed to school with me, so I can never imagine how many amazing friends you've made and all the memories you have already. You've never had an opportunity quite like this, to finally have the time of your life with some amazing people in such a special place. Don't ever sit in your dorm on a weekend alone (unless you're studying, then fine) because you deserve to experience every amazing thing that this new life has to offer you.

Take the time to find your niche out of all of the campus ministries available to you, and explore different churches until you find one that feels like home. You have such a unique opportunity to be apart of a church family and grow in the Lord, and college is the perfect time to do so. Find those good Christian girls who are down for a Bible study and coffee date, because they'll be the ones you can lean on during the hard days.

But in the fun of it all, remember just how valuable this opportunity is. Education is one of the best gifts someone can give to themselves, so in the fun of freedom and spontaneity, remember to study for that exam and do those online modules that are due at 11:59 p.m. I didn't take college classes in high school just for you to have too much fun and add a C to the GPA I've worked so hard to build. Enjoy the honors program and even the most rigorous coursework, and enjoy learning with other students who value their educations just as much as you do. Make a study date with that cute boy in your Biology class, because you never know where things might go.

Live unapologetically, be joyful always and enjoy the unique opportunity you have to get an education and have the time of your life at the school of your dreams. Make me proud.

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.

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Seniors,

I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

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