This summer will be your first time on your own, in every aspect. You’ll be on your own physically, with a solo apartment in the middle of a new city. But you’ll also be on your own emotionally, without the nearby hug from a friend or friendly face.

You’re going to have some mental breakdowns, and that’s okay. Sometimes the loneliness will overwhelm you, and you won’t know anything else except to scream and cry into the empty space. But then – and this is important – the tears will cease, the fear will quiet, and you’ll pick yourself up and dust yourself off. You will survive it.

Other days, I promise, you will love the independence. You will find something empowering in living these days by yourself and making the smallest decisions about what to eat, where to go, what to do. You’ll learn to relish those mornings waking up alone and those late nights to peruse your deepest thoughts. It is in these moments that you will learn the most about yourself.

At the end of the four months, when your lease is up and it is time to return to the world again, you’re going to be stronger.

You’ll realize the difference between being alone and being lonely.

You’ll learn the value of being selfish.

You’ll appreciate solo adventures.

You’ll set higher standards for what you expect from your life, and the people in it.

You’ll know you can tackle any problem.

You’ll be smarter, braver, better.

Here’s to the next few months on your own, to all the tears and smiles in between. I cannot wait to meet the person you are by the end.