A Letter To My Future Self Before College Graduation

A Letter To My Future Self Before College Graduation

From my current, freshman year self.
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To the older (and hopefully more mature) me:

It's crazy to think that as I sit here writing this I'm almost done my first year of college. When I was little, people who were in college always seemed incredibly old to me, and now here you are about to graduate.

I think I have it all figured out right now - majors, minors, what I want to do with my life. Yet, I'm also pretty confident that whatever you're pursuing after graduation is probably completely different from what I expect. Whatever it is, I hope you love it.

I've had a pretty memorable freshman year - complete with a break trip to Costa Rica and a national championship - so I have no doubt that you've made even more incredible memories in your time here.

Just a few months ago, I was still nervous I hadn't made the right choice. I had high hopes, but I also knew it was hard to tell what a school is really like before even getting there. However, I don't think I ever could've predicted how much I love it here. I hope you still love it just as much as I do (and probably even more). I know you're probably sad to see it go, but I'm excited for you to move on to even bigger and better things.

I hope you got to try everything you wanted to do. I think I've gotten a good start on it - I've gotten involved in things I didn't expect to, taken classes I never thought I would, and met people I never would've met otherwise - and I hope that continued throughout your time in college. Once you're gone there's no going back, although I'm pretty sure you're more than aware of that.

I have some exciting travel plans in the near future, like a trip to NYC with my family and a trip to Galway with my best friends. I hope they both ended up being amazing trips you still look back on fondly. I hope you've gotten even more opportunities to travel to amazing places that I never thought I would see.

It's crazy to think that Sarah graduates in a few weeks, and as you're rereading this you're the same age your older sister is currently. She seems so old and mature, and now you're (hopefully) in a similar place.

Good luck in the real world!

Love,

Your freshman self

Cover Image Credit: Emily Scheuring

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I'm That Girl With A Deep Voice, But I'm Not Some Freak Of Nature

I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man.

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My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I joke that rather than getting higher, my voice got lower throughout puberty.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when my family members say "Hi Todd" when they pick up the phone when I call. Todd is my brother. I am a girl.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when I have been asked by other females if they're "in the right bathroom" when I tell them "I'm not in line" or "someone's in here" when there's a knock on the stall.

Keep in mind that in most female bathrooms, there are no urinals present and there is a sign outside the door that says "WOMEN." Quite obviously, they're in the correct bathroom, just thrown off by the octave of my voice.

For the girl who asked me if she was in the right bathroom because she was "caught off guard and thought I was a boy," I'm just wondering...

What part about my long hair, mascara, shorts not down to my knees, presence (small presence, but a presence none the less) of boobs, and just my overall demeanor was not enough validation that you are, in fact, in the correct restroom?

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man. Or, when someone calls me over to talk to their friends so they can see how "offsetting" my voice sounds to them.

My favorite story is when I was in a store, and I asked one of the women there a question about a product.

This woman had the audacity to ask me when I "went through my transformation."

She was suggesting that I was a transgender girl because of the sound of my voice. Please recognize that I respect and wholeheartedly accept the trans- population. Please also recognize that I was born a girl, still am a girl, always will be a girl, and asking someone if they are a different gender than they appear to be is not the best way to make a sale.

Frustrated, I told her that she should find a better plastic surgeon and walked out.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be.

And, to make matters worse, I am not your typical "girly-girl."

I die for the New York Rangers, have maybe two dresses in my closet but three shelves full of hand-me-down sweatshirts from my brother and Adidas pants. I do not own a "blouse" nor do I plan on owning one except maybe for business-casual occasions.

Naturally, when a deep voice is paired with a sports-oriented, athletic short-loving, sarcastic girl who couldn't tell you the difference between a stiletto and an average high-heel, I GUESS things can seem "off." However, regardless of the difference you see/hear, no one has the right to make someone feel bad about themselves.

What I always struggled with the most is how (most, moral, common-sense) people will never tell someone they don't know, who may be overweight, that "they're fat" or that they don't like the shirt that they're wearing. Yet, because my voice is not something physically seen, it has become fair game for strangers and acquaintances alike to judge and make comments about.

I used to break down into hysterics when I heard a comment about my voice, whether I was six years old or seventeen years old.

There are times that I still do because I am so fed up and just completely bamboozled by the fact that at the age of twenty, there are still people who just have a blatant disregard for others' feelings and a lack of understanding of what is okay to say and what is not okay to say.

But, just like I ask those people not to judge me, I suppose I can't judge them on their lack of common sense and respect for others.

I'd be lying if I said that the hundreds of thousands of comments I've heard and received targeted at my voice growing up did not play a role in my life. I used to want to be a sports broadcaster. I no longer want to be heard on the radio or seen on TV; snarky comments about my voice being one of the reasons why (among others, like a change of interest and just overall life experiences).

I'd be lying if I said that my struggle with public speaking didn't partially stem from negative feedback about my voice.

I'd be lying if I said that there weren't days I tried to talk as little as possible because I didn't want to be judged and that I am sometimes hesitant to introduce myself to new people because I'm scared my voice will scare them away.

I would also be lying if I said that my voice didn't make me who I am.

I joke constantly about it now, because half the shit that comes out of my mouth mixed with my actions, interests, beliefs, etc., would sound absolutely WHACK if I had a high-pitched "girly" voice.

My voice matches my personality perfectly, and the criticism I have and continue to receive for my "manly" sounding voice has helped shaped me into who I am today. I have learned to love my voice when people have relentlessly tried to make me hate it. I have learned to take the frustration I felt towards my voice and turn it into sympathy for those who have something going on in their life, and therefore feel compelled to make a comment about me, a stranger's voice, to make themselves feel better.

I've learned that to laugh at yourself is to love yourself.

And, I say this not for sympathy. Not for someone to say, "Wait, Syd, I love your voice!"

I say this because I want it to be a reminder for people to watch what they say, and use that noggin before you speak. I say this because I also want to be the voice (haha, get it, 'voice') for those who feel like they've lost theirs.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

So no, I would not be a good alto in a choir because I think I'm tone deaf. And, when you call MY phone number, it is very unlikely that it is my brother or dad answering. Just say hello, because 99.9% of the time, if it's ME you're calling, it's ME that's answering.

Dr. Suess said, "A person's a person no matter how small."

Now I'm saying, "A girl is a girl no matter her octave."

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8 Steps To Surviving Your Senior Year Of High School

A senior's guide to surviving the final year of high school.

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Senior year for many teens is the final stepping stone to finally getting out of the prison called high school. It's the magical year where you and your best friend pledge to stay best friends forever and you profess your love for your significant other; it's the start of your life and it seems like one huge musical number. But, I'm here to tell you the cold hard truth: senior year is like the gladiators, and you have just entered the dome.

Senior year is not where you can burst out into song and dance about how you're "all in this together" or about how the mediocre student becomes the genius of the school- it's about surviving. These simple eight steps will go a long way.

1. Preparedness creates readiness

I know you've always been taught that being prepared goes a long way, and it's true. I've found that if I have everything I need, it's less of a hassle. Anything from highlighters, notebooks, pens, binders, and maybe even a mini stapler.

Preparedness also includes being organized. If you keep your papers for certain classes in a certain folder, it helps a long distance. Post-it makes these little tabs that work excellently for marking different subjects. This is especially important if you have AP classes.

2. Apply, apply, apply! Because the worst they can say is deny, deny, deny 

Along with senior year comes college. College is like the Michael Jackson of our lives up until this point. Everyone talks about college, knows about college, and prepares to get to the point of college. But, we often have the habit of sticking to one. What if you get denied?

To increase your chances of going to college, apply to as many as you can. I've applied to ten, and most were as soon as applications went online.

It's also helpful if you have an advisor through the application: your parents, a guidance counselor or a college coach if your school has one. It is to help better your college application so you can get in.

3. FAFSA If you want the cash-a

FASFA is a glorious glorious superhero for us upcoming college students. It's the Batman of college; rich and resourceful. FASFA is financial aid for college, and the faster you get it done, the faster colleges will respond.

You hear Senior's everywhere saying, " I'm not going to college because I can't afford it", well that's a bunch of bull because FASFA is here to save the day!

Your counselors should be able to help you with setting an account up. This year, FASFA started to be available on October 1st.

4. If it has a screen, it's not part of the dream (unless you want to have a career in technology...)

Seriously...You're there to learn, not to stare at a screen mindlessly for seven hours. You miss out on valuable learning time and socializing face to face. The only reason you should have your phone out is in emergencies or if you need it for a class. Side note: I bet that you wouldn't even noticed someone in a gorilla suit in the class.

Just, put the phone away and you'll get better grades, I promise.

5. Fool around, you're six feet underground (your grades...I mean)

Seniors always get a bad case of senioritis at least halfway through the year. Most don't care because they've put in the work the other years so they don't see the point in putting the effort in their final year. One question: don't you have to pass to graduate?

So, wouldn't it be better to actually do your work, get the grades, and earn your ticket out of that prison? Your choice.

6. DON'T stop in the name of love if you want to rise above 

I mean college as in "rise above," of course. I'm not saying you can't be in love and in a relationship, I'm just saying that it shouldn't mingle with your school life. It adds a ton of extra drama that you don't need in your already stressful life. Plus, you can't be like Betty and Jughead and live happily ever after from the beginning.

So, if you want to survive your senior year, don't let your relationship dictate how it goes.

7. True friends thrive and will help you survive 

Best friends are a part if life; you tell them all your secrets and you share several inside jokes. Years worth of laughter, smiles, and late nights phone calls are spent with your best friend. But, with senior year approaching, you have to decide who is a real friend and will be there when you need it.

I'm not talking about the six-year-old you with a macaroni necklace and pinky promise to be BFF's. I'm talking about the friend who is always there and never stabs you in the back.

Senior year is stressful enough, so why add on to it with slippery snakes as friends?

8. If you give up, you're out of luck 

The image says it all, most places today (and colleges) don't accept people who haven't completed ALL four years of high school. So, don't be like Castiel and quit. Thrive and do your best to succeed.


Alright, now that you have taken these eight steps to survive, you can FINALLY break out into song and dance. Just don't make three movies and songs that nobody can get out of their head once they start singing it, and you should be good.

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