A Letter To My Old Self

To The Old Me, From The New Me—You've Blossomed Into A Pretty Cool Butterfly

Just know, you've got this.


I could honestly write to the "old me" from thirty minutes ago, or the "old me" from when I was a fetus in my mom's womb, but I'm going to direct this letter to the "old me" from high school.

Boy were those dark times.

High school wasn't bad—but it wasn't good either. I think I was over it after freshman year. I'd gone to enough Friday night football games and school dances to last me a lifetime.

High school wasn't how it appeared on TV. Maybe it had to do with the high school I went to, or maybe it had to do with the people I'd chosen to surround myself with. Or, maybe it had to do with my strict, controlling parents.

Maybe I just wasn't a high school person—or a school person in general.

OK, enough stalling. Here it goes:

Dear Old Joanne,

You'd be happy to know that I'm in college now—or more rather you're in college now. We? I don't know.

And it's pretty great. Despite the fact that it sucks and once I graduate, I'll most likely be in debt for the rest of my life, but that's okay.

I managed to find my calling—kind of. I decided to pursue a degree in communication. It's actually pretty exciting stuff. It's a broad major, so if I decide I don't like journalism or something, I can go into marketing or PR.

You're probably stressed about school or your friends not wanting to be your friends anymore. Or maybe you're stressed about some stupid boy who won't even matter in a few years down the road (side note: they definitely don't matter now).

Maybe you're worried about your body image—or your image overall.

Unfortunately, "new you" still lacks confidence every so often. She's also not the stick-thin, size 0 she was back in her freshman year of high school.

But she grew boobs! So, that's pretty exciting, right?

I guess my advice to you is to relax. Those grades, those events, and dances you're missing out on, they don't actually matter. Those friends you swore up and down you'd do anything for, they aren't apart of your life anymore.

That guy you cried over for a week? He's not in your life anymore.

That presentation you practiced over and over for, missed sleep because of: it really isn't a big deal. At least not now. Not anymore.

That retail job you thought you'd be long gone from? Yeah, you're still there. But get this: you got promoted! And you're on the right track to moving up the corporate latter.

Also, to those who said high school is the best four years of your life? They're wrong. College has been the best few years of my life so far. I've enjoyed every bit of it—even if it's the most stressed out I've been in my entire life.

Sure, the workload is a lot harder than it was in high school, but you're doing what you love every single day. You're learning new material, gaining real, hands-on life experience, preparing yourself for your future dream job.

It's great. You're great. And you're going to do great things.

So, yeah, high school sucks, but just know this: you're going to get through it.

Plus, you're no longer a shy, little caterpillar. I mean, you have your moments, but you're a lot more social and willing to try new things now.

Overall, you've blossomed into a pretty cool butterfly.

So, with that, trek on "old me." You've got this.


New Joanne (aka Upcoming College Senior Joanne)

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40 Small Things That Make College Students Happy

It doesn't take much...

1. When class is canceled.

2. When the coffee shop you stop at five minutes before your 8 a.m. has a short line.

3. Coffee, coffee, coffee.

4. Open note tests.

5. Or even better, take home tests.

6. The unofficial assigned seating process that that takes place after the first week or so of classes.

7. Thursday nights. (because in college, Thursday qualifies as the weekend.)

8. Sales.

9. Or once again, even better, free things.

10. Specifically free food.

11. Dogs.

12. Dogs on campus.

13. Tailgates and Saturday afternoon football games.

14. Finding an already completed Quizlet for your exam.

15. Having an extra 30 minutes for a nap, and if you're lucky, an hour.

16. Netflix.

17. When your roommate takes out the trash.

18. Weekends after test weeks.

19. The rare blessing of a curve on an exam.

20. Getting out of class early.

21. How in college, it is socially expectable to wear a t-shirt everyday.

22. Being able to walk from class to class or eat in the dining hall without having to see anyone you know. (and thank goodness too because you probably don't look too good.)

23. Crossing things off of your to-do list.

24. Your best-friends that you make in college.

25. A full tank of gas.

26. Seeing a new face everyday.

27. Crawling back into bed after your 8 or 9 a.m. (or after any class that ends with a.m.)

28. Care packages.

29. No cover charges.

30. When adults tell you that it is okay that you have no idea what you want to do with your life yet. (regardless of what parents or your advisor may say.)

31. Pizza.

32. Finding out you weren't the only one who did poorly on the exam.

33. Deciding not to buy the textbook, and never needing it.

34. Finding the perfect gif to express how you're feeling. (Michael Scott just get it.)

35. Weekends at home because...

36. Pets.

37. Mom's home cooked pie and Dad's steak dinners,

38. Spring Break.

39. Road trips.

40. When it finally starts to cool down outside so you can show up to class dry instead of dripping in sweat.

Cover Image Credit: Abigail Wideman

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Everyone Should Experience Working In Fast Food Or Retail

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it.


I know these jobs aren't glamorous. In fact, most days I looked forward to clocking out before I had even clocked in. I always secretly rolled my eyes when an angry customer droned on and on about how entitled he or she was. Though I can name a lot of bad things that happened on the job, it wasn't all horrible. As I reflect on my time working in fast food, I realize how much having that job really taught me and how grateful I am to have had that experience. I really think everyone should work in fast food or retail at some point, and here's why:

You make some great friends from work. I get it, sometimes your co-workers are royal jerks or flat out creeps. You see your name on the schedule next to theirs and immediately try switching with someone else. I've been there. However, I have worked with some amazing people as well.

Every time I worked with one girl in particular, we laughed for entire shifts. One night, we were singing the national anthem at the top of our lungs without realizing a customer had come in (to our surprise, she applauded our terrible screaming). Another coworker and I turned up the radio on full blast when business was slow and had dance battles. We made the most of our shifts, and I still talk to some of these people today.

You learn how to deal with difficult people. It's the age-old story: the uppity customer thinks twelve dollars for a meal combo is outrageous and Where is your manager?!

My friend and I were once called stupid and a customer said he would never come back to our restaurant to eat ever again. At the moment, we were scared out of our minds because we were both pretty new to the job. As time passed, we became more patient and tolerant and knew what triggered these particular customers. Dealing with these adversities definitely helps in the long run, particularly when it comes to doing group work with people who seem unbearable.

Your people skills increase by a landslide. I had always thought that I was great with people before I had a job. However, when I found myself in situations where I had to talk to strangers, I would grow nervous and stumble across my words from time to time. Working in an environment where communicating with others is a driving force helped me not only with improving my public speaking, but also made me more outgoing. In situations where I once backed into the corner to avoid having to talk to someone, I now take charge and initiate a conversation.

You establish a connection with regular customers. My favorite customer was named Jack. He was the sweetest old man who came in every Wednesday and Friday and bought food for himself and his wife. I quickly memorized his order, which impressed him. We shared pleasantries every time he came in, and my coworkers and I looked forward to seeing him.

Establishing a relationship with people who come in a lot helps immensely when it comes to working. It also provides a sense of accomplishment when you memorize an order. Not to mention, the customers start to like you and typically leave a generous tip!

You have stories to tell for a lifetime! Sometimes bad things happen at work. Once I was holding a hot pan and burned my arm— I still have the burn mark on my arm to prove it. My point is, it sucked at the moment, but now I look back and laugh.

One time I asked my coworker how to make soup and she replied, "Slowly, but beautifully." It was so nonchalant that I cracked up for hours. There was also a time when a customer asked me for outlandish toppings and condiments that we didn't offer. The craziest story, though, was the drug deal that went down in our public restrooms. My coworker and I obviously could not leave our station and follow these people into the bathroom, so we were pretty much defenseless. Nobody got hurt or anything, so it made for a great story.

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it. It made me more independent and outgoing and gave me memories I'll never forget.

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