To preface this letter, I would just like to write this to myself as if I was opening it the night before my first day of freshman year of college... so here it goes.
Tomorrow you are going to begin a new chapter of your life. I know it all seems scary, the unknown of college and being accepted at a new place where you know nothing, but I just wanted to let you know everything is going to be okay.
The first few weeks are going to be extremely mentally draining. Within the first days of being at college you will come to realize that athletics and rowing are no longer a part of you, and having to confront your coaches in their office on that day you will remember forever, telling them you will no longer be part of the rowing team is going to be one of the hardest decisions you have to make up to this point in your life. But it only gets worse.
After dissociating yourself with athletics, something that has shaped you and made you who you are, even pushed you to what you once thought was your emotional breaking point, you feel lost. Sinking into a deep hole of sadness and tears. Feeling like all the blood, sweat, and tears you have put into a sport that gave you everything you ever wanted, you oddly feel free.
This new found freedom of not having a practice schedule dictate your free time, you begin feeling lost. Hanging out with friends after classes cannot fill the void and comfort that athletics brought you for so many years. You seek comfort, something new. Downloading the app Tinder, because who doesn't have Tinder in college nowadays? Swipe, Swipe. Match. Notification. "Hey, Caroline. How are you?"
You click on his profile.
Check him out.
Message him back.
Talking to him for hours, exchanging Snapchats, phone numbers, Instagram usernames. This boy is so nice and seems so genuine, something you did not think about most of the male population at this age. Texting turns into long conversations with this boy, eventually, he asks you to hang out.
After another boring day of classes, butterflies fill your stomach with excitement remembering today you two were going to hang out. What should I wear? Do I have on deodorant? What if he kidnaps me?? All the thoughts running through your mind as you ready yourself to meet this boy.
"Here." He texts you.
Walking out to the parking lot looking for his car, you get in and instantly feel comfort in his warm smile and bright eyes. As you two start talking to break the ice, you realize you have a lot in common. You both like dogs, skiing, sailing, and have a genuine connection. And after the car ride, you return to his apartment, meeting his roommate who lives close to you back home, even naming a few of the same people. There could not have been a more definitive spark between you two. In other words, you are going to be head over heels for this guy from the moment you see him.
This is going to be the first boy to break your heart, and you don't even know it yet. Sitting in short stories class one day, you write down your feelings, coming to the conclusion that you want to tell him you love him. When he reads the letter, a smile appears on his face and he says it back, your heart is warm. The void has been filled, so you think.
But time passes, and people change. As your relationship develops and you come to know each other, you realize that there seem to be more things about him that are getting on your nerves than the good things you once saw. But you look past them for months and months, keep in mind your family LOVES him, practically part of the family at this point.
As summer approaches, you do not know what you want of this relationship anymore. From the outside, it looks perfect. Two young adults, so much life ahead of them, so much potential, so in love. But on the inside, resentment, arguments, stress. You simply cannot take it anymore.
A week or so after your 19th birthday, you give him a dreaded phone call, asking to take a break for the summer because you do not know what you want right now, except some space to be yourself. Things go well for the first several days, you keep in contact. Until one day you discover that he has moved on, already has another girlfriend. The girl he told you was just his friend from home, so unexpected yet so predictable. This rips you apart from the inside out. How can someone who says they love you so much and tell you how amazing and beautiful you are just move on so fast? Was it all a lie?
Day after day, questioning the length of the relationship, wondering why and how he has moved on. Let me tell you why. Everything you are going to experience in your 18th year happens for a reason. Every fight, every friendship, every single thing that happens to you is for a reason. And that boy you meet, he is there for you to comfort you in a time of transition in your life, to keep you at the University of Rhode Island. He may break your heart and self-esteem, but don't worry, you will find it again in a few short months.
Remember, everything works out in the end. Everything happens because it is meant to be. Do not second guess going out with your friends, maybe second-guess that haircut you got over spring break because it made you look like a toddler, but do not second-guess any of the people you meet, because they are there for a reason. Never let the bad bring you down, because I promise, year 19 is amazing, and possibly the best one yet.
Cheers, and to many many more!