To The Younger Me

To The Younger Me

The six things I wish I could go back and tell my old self.

During my past 19 years of life I had always felt rather lonely. That is, until I got here: college. However, these are things you simply cannot express to other people in your high school. In high school, you cannot risk seeming weak, because the vultures will prey on it. No one can ever know the real you, because you cannot risk your reputation. Well... to hell with your so called reputation. If I could go back, I know there are several things I would tell my old self.

1. Not all girls are mean like they are in high school.

Hold the phone! This is not a joke. Not all girls are not mean like they are in high school. Growing up, I was always that girl that was one of the guys, because the guys were just less drama. The sad thing is that it starts young. If you did not own an Aeropostale shirt in 5th grade, you might as well have been the kid that ate dirt. During high school, you try to do things, say things, wear things, and be something that you're not to impress people that you don't even like!

I'm here to let you know that college isn't like that... at all. Your best friends are girls that are exactly like you, yet they're their own person. You've only known these people for six weeks, yet you've shared more of who you truly are with them than you ever did with people from back home. And to be quite honest, you could probably be wearing a onesie and they would genuinely believe you are the fabulous person that you are.

2. People don't always thrive off your failures.

Growing up in a small town isn't the easiest thing in the world. Don't get me wrong, I will never forget where I came from. Marshall, Illinois gave me more scholarships and memories than I can ever repay it for. But the problem with small towns is that everyone knows everyone. We all know who has money, who goes to church on Sunday, and we even know the name of the crazy old man that rides his bike across town. While some of these things are convenient, everyone is waiting for you to fail. If you're in the lead for valedictorian and you get a B, your "friends" will be there for you, but they'll secretly be thriving off your loss. If you get a boyfriend, you better watch out cause next thing you know you're pregnant. You haven't noticed any symptoms, but man the town sure does know more about your life than you do.

However, true friends do not wish the worst for you. Good people are out there, you just have to find them. When you did bad on you first calculus test, your friend showed up to the dorms and surprised you with your favorite ice cream. When you go to college, you are surrounded by good vibes and constant happiness. There is no longer that sense of competition. All you want is for your best friends to be happy and successful, and I am sure they wish the same for you.

3. It's OK to ask for help.

I wish someone would have told you that it is OK to ask for help. I wish I could explain to eight-year-old-me that it wasn't your fault when you had melt downs. You are not your anxiety. You are not your depression. You are not your panic attacks. You are beautiful in every way. Finally, at 18 years old you admitted that prescription medicine might be the best way to go. This is nothing to be ashamed of; you know that now. Your only regret is that you did not reach out and ask for help sooner.

4. Money was tight, but it wasn't that tight.

You didn't have to eat a 30 cent doughnut for lunch every day in junior high. Mom wouldn't have been mad if you would have asked her to send the school money. I have talked to her myself, and you should have talked to her back then. Money was tight, but not tight enough you had to go hungry all day.

5. It will all work out in the end.

I remember being laughed at for being a "tryhard." Everyone teased that my math book was my bible and I should go study some more flashcards. All I wanted to do was explain my story to them. Maybe if they knew that in third grade my mom told me "I don't have a college fund for you," they would understand. Just to be clear, my mom was not saying this, because she did not want to help me. My parents would give me everything in the world if they could, but unfortunately some of us are dealt on the lower hand in life.

You didn't have to have to work as much as you did. You didn't need to work holidays and every weekend. You probably shouldn't have agreed to work until 12 a.m. on school nights. You should not have worried yourself sick about how you were going to pay for school. If only back then you would have known that you would pay off a 2011 Kia Soul and your first year of college without taking out loans, you would have saved yourself a lot of stress. But, life is beautiful and a crazy ride. There are ups and downs, so just enjoy the present and have hope for the future.

6. You are going to be someone.

There will be times when people will try to bring you down. There will be people that try and tell you that you are going nowhere in your life. There will be bullies that make excuses and say that you get handed everything. They’ll try to say you don’t deserve homecoming queen or team captain. But, do not, under any circumstances, give in to these people. Don’t let someone else’s envy make you doubt yourself; because, you are going to be someone.

I know this because you already are.

You were important then, and you are important now.

I wish I could go back and tell the old me where I would end up. But, I bet she wouldn't believe me. I'm OK with that though, because she was in for the best surprise of her life. The biggest piece of advice I can give is don't blink. One day you're struggling and stressing, and the next day you're walking to class on a beautiful campus, crying tears of joy because you did it. And you really did.

You made it.

Cover Image Credit: Mackenzie Rogers

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This Was My First Semester At Rider

Man did it fly by.

After months of thinking about what college was going to be like, it is crazy that in the blink of the eye you finish 1 semester. I spent all summer wondering if I would enjoy college or if would absolutely hate it, but after a wonderful 3 1/2 months, I learned to love it.

College is exciting, and its new and can sometimes be overwhelming but once you adjust, it's a blast. I quickly adjusted to living away from home and give myself props for never being homesick. I do have to say the times I did go home were for food( dining hall stinks), because I was sick, and to see my boyfriend.

I also quickly adjusted to my classes. I'm not sure if I just got lucky with a good first semester of classes, but the 15 credits were not as bad as I was expecting. All of my professors were nice, understanding and, helpful with only a few downsides. I am proud of myself for doing well and earning the grades I did.

Life away from home can be challenging and when you don't have your family or friends around you it can be difficult. I do appreciate the times I went home and the times I saw my friends. But, I also appreciate the weekends I stayed and enjoyed my college experience.

To all the seniors out there waiting for it to be over, I do have to say enjoy it. You only get so long to be a kid and then everything changes.

Thanks Rider for an amazing first semester, bring on the next one.

Cover Image Credit: Samantha Pucci

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Don't Tell Me Whether Or Not I Want Kids

It's ignorant, it's presumptive, and mostly, it's rude.

I try to avoid the topic of children as much as possible with people because half the time, I'm looked at as if I'm some heartless witch for saying I'm not really fond of them.

There's no rhyme or reason as to why I feel this way. I've grown up in a kid friendly home, I'm not an only child, and my extended family is littered with children of all ages. But for me, kids are annoying and I don't like them. I don't want them.

When I say kids are annoying and I don't like them, I just mean the idea of them. That doesn't mean I can't like certain kids. All my younger cousins are hysterical, fun, active little munchkins that I could hang out with all day. I can meet a newborn and appreciate the beauty that this little baby brings into the world. I can "ooh" and "ahh" at all the little yawns they let out, the button nose they might have, or the way they cry when they want something. I can see a kid in a commercial and think, "Damn, what a cute kid!"

But would I want one of my own? As in, do I wish to have a daughter or son?

No.

I don't really understand why that's such a hard concept for some people to accept. You tell them you're not interested in having kids and all of a sudden you're a demon. You're delusional. You're not a real woman.

I get this response quite often. Mostly - no, especially – from women! I'm expected to take on this motherly persona in which I burst into tears at the sight of a three month old wearing a cute outfit or when I see a four year old make a funny face. I'm expected to feel the inherent desire to coddle someone when they cry. I have to want kids because if I don't, what am I going to do later in life?

The truth is, I don't feel that pang in my heart that makes me excited to start a family. I don't day dream about what my kids names will be. I don't have baby fever. I don't know if I ever will.

All I know is that I'm 22 years old right now. I have graduated college. I have gained merits from organizations and professors. I have friends who I like to spend time with. I have had my fair share of failed and successful relationships. I continue to strive for the best for me at this current time.

I plan on going to graduate school. I plan on starting my career. I plan on marrying someday, not any time soon. I plan on traveling like no other. I plan on eating new foods, drinking new wines, exploring new activities. I plan on getting a kick-ass apartment or house in the city of my dreams. I plan on spending my days doing what I want, when I want. I don't see what's so wrong with that.

Besides, whether or not I want a kid is irrelevant. I know this because notice in the paragraph above, the main concept is "me, me, me."

I am obviously not ready to even entertain the idea of a kid, let alone am I ready for an actual tiny human at any time. Why? Because I am selfish.

Selfish has been made to be such a dirty word. Of course, in the traditional sense, selfish isn't a good thing to be. But in this case, I think my selfishness is justified because it's my life, my body, and my choice. I'm young! I want to do what I want to do and then when I feel I've done it all, I'll think about kids.

Who knows? When I'm 30, I could very well change my mind. I could decide out of the blue to birth 7 of those monsters, but who are you to tell me "Oh, you'll change your mind" when I tell you that I'm not interested in having kids?

How can I give life to something when I can hardly remind myself to eat breakfast in the morning? What reason would I have behind having a child when I can't afford one? Why would I want a kid when more often than not, I don't even know what I want to do with my free time? I'm young. I change my mind at the drop of a hat. That's what I'm supposed to do. Why would anyone expect me to know when I want to get married, have kids, or settle down?

"You won't feel fulfilled."

"What about your family?"

"What will you do with your life if you don't have kids?"

"If you wait too long, you'll be sorry. The biological clock is ticking!"

If you feel the need to say any of these phrases to anyone ever, just pause for a second and think about how your comments will affect the person you're speaking to. No two people are the same and if someone says they don't want to have kids, then maybe it's for the best that you two agree to disagree on the topic.

And again, who knows what the future holds? I could change my mind. Or I could not.

I could save all my money and live a kick-ass life with my future husband, family, and friends. I could eat all the sushi and soft cheese I want. I could drink all the wine I want. I could work out the way I want. I could travel where I want. I could work where and as much as I want. I could own as many pets as I want. I could do whatever I want.

A life of complete freedom. Now that would be fulfilling.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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