Hi. It’s really great to finally meet you. I’ve been worrying and stressing and losing sleep and shedding tears over you this entire summer, and I’ve gone through the age-old rituals of having our impending relationship questioned, tested, considered, and basically shoved in my face for the past few years. Isn’t tradition a wonderful thing?
Now, I don’t want to start out on a bad note. I think you and I will probably be fast friends, despite what my deepest worries have been telling me about you for the last few months. No, I think we’ll get along just fine. It might take some adjusting, some awkward small talk, some sleepless nights, but we can look forward to (at least) four years of getting to know each other and helping each other out when we need it.
So I’d like to establish an agreement. I think relationships are the healthiest and happiest when they are conducted with plenty of open, honest communication, so let’s start off on the right foot and lay down some ground rules. I want this to be a give-and-take, you know? Let’s start off with my promises to you.
I will trade in my tried and true, familiar, sometimes boring life here at home for a shiny, scary, new one with you. I will slowly but surely open up to you and share my greatest passions and fears alike. I will make an effort to put my best foot forward and keep an open mind to all the wonderful opportunities and gifts you have to offer me. If things get tough, I will put in the work to keep our relationship going so we can grow stronger together. I will share my voice, my opinions, my unique experiences, my invaluable millennial thoughts about society and gender and privilege and all the things that make our friendship so vibrant and so crucial. I will try to make it so, after four years, we will both be better than when we met. I only ask a few simple things of you in return.
Dear College, please keep me safe. Please give me your word that if I am walking alone at night, or cornered at a party, or put in a situation where I am not OK, you will protect me. Please let me know that you will honestly listen to me and support me as we go through life’s twists and turns together. Please try to remember that I really want to learn from you, and I think you can learn from me, too- but I simply cannot share the deepest, most unique and relevant and valuable parts of my mind and experiences if I do not feel safe with you. Please, please promise me that you will honor and respect who I am and what I can offer you by giving me space to freely and safely share my thoughts and opinions. Please know that when I look to you for help or comfort, it is not because I am running away from the world- it is because I am a part of it, and I want to share what that means with you as best as I can. Please be in that world with me, and help me make it a safer place.
I think right now we need each other, you and I. I’m ready to accept everything you have to teach me with a critical eye and an open heart. And I’m eager to share with you who I am, and what we can achieve together. Thank you for listening- I look forward to four years of getting to know you and continuing to talk passionately and honestly together about the world around us. It’s not always easy to trust new people, but I hope you’ll trust me. Let me know that I can trust you, too.
P.S. When you write me back, try not to write something like this. That's just a bad way to start things off, don't you think?