I’m going to paint a picture in your head.
It’s 2015, you’re finally graduating high school, starting college in the fall for the first time and keen on making as many mistakes as possible before learning to pay for it. You went from waking up at 6:30 am every day to be at school by 7:30 am to waking up 15 minutes before your 12:30 class. You were forced to take classes you didn’t really enjoy.
You lived with your parents (or legal guardians), had to follow their rules. No staying up late. No going out with friends after a certain time. Always doing your homework as soon as you got home.
It’s your senior year, and you feel like you’re on top of the world. The top of the food chain. Little did you know that you’re going right back to being a baby again, come the first day of your freshman year.
I know how exhausted you actually are. Always doing your very best, but somehow it not ever being enough for your teachers, your parents and your friends. Worrying about if you’ll actually like college. Wondering if it will all be worth it in the end.
My only advice to you is to slow down. You may think you have no time, but you do. You don’t need to have anxiety about walking across a field in a pair of wedges in front of 500+ people. You don’t need to worry about making your graduation cap as perfect as it can be. You don’t need to worry about who comes to your graduation party. All of this will be irrelevant in a few months.
You may think that high school was the best and worst time of your life, but college is another journey. Speaking from experience, these past three years have taught me that I never stop growing and maturing as a person. Three years ago seems like a world away. Personally, I was a completely different person than I was when I first started college. Just like you were when you started and finished high school.
I want you to take it all in. Read more. Listen. Observe. Offer your opinions when they’re asked for. Watch the news every morning. Know what’s going on in the world. I want you to remember how good those home-cooked meals are, even if you’re eating meatloaf for the third day in a row. Be thankful for everything your parents do for you. In college, they will do so much more for you. When you’re starving and living off of $1 noodles, they’ll send you $20 for takeout and it will be the best thing in the world
Take yourself out of the bubble. I know that living in a small town has made you feel small, but you’re not. You’re going to spread your wings and find out how extraordinary everything out there is. Just don’t go too crazy. Save your money. Take trips with your friends. Go to museums. Be nice to the strangers you meet. The random people you talk to on line at the dining hall will become your best friends. Cherish them and listen when they tell you that you’re wrong.
Study. I wish someone told me this. I know it’s common sense, its college, we’re all supposed to be studying, but sometimes it’s hard. Study as much as you can. Find ways to make things interesting to you, even if it’s dreadfully boring. Buy flash cards and colored pens. Write what you must know over and over again until its imprinted in your brain. Work as hard as you can. I’m still learning this one.
If you find yourself in a new school with new people when you’re 20 years old all of the sudden, don’t panic. You’re doing what’s best for you. Remember that you’re your most important investment. Invest in your education. Invest in your success. Be what you always wanted to be. Impress yourself and you will be everything you dreamed.
Slow down and remember all of this. I wish someone told me all of this, so I’m telling you now. Three years from now, you’ll find yourself in my place.