Why You Should Write A Letter Every Week

Why You Should Write A Letter Every Week

My senior year probability and statistics class was where I learned the true importance of writing letters. My teacher would always be asked by parents, "Why are you having my kid write a letter? What does it have to do with math?" To which he would reply, "It has nothing to do with math. And I do it because everyone should write and receive letters."

Each month one of our in-class assignments was to write a letter. The recipients changed each time: once it was to write to a family member, another was a friend you hadn't seen in awhile, yet another was to write to a teacher who had greatly impacted your life. Mr. McCluskey is the wisest man I have ever met. Through his class, I have sent so many letters, and because of his class, I have received a lot of letters. One of the rules was that you could not tell the recipient that the letter was written for a homework assignment. Mr. McCluskey always provided the envelopes, and we would pay for stamps. Every time we did this assignment, I asked McCluskey to pick out a student in the room, and I would pay double the price for stamps so that I was partially connected with someone else's letter. It was my little way of feeling connected with another class member anonymously.

Here at Loyola University Chicago, we receive an email whenever we get mail because it has to be picked up in the mail room. I order a lot from Amazon -- very random things, from boxing gloves to an obsessive amount of stationery. So, the people at the mail room know me pretty well. There are two lines at the mail room: where you pick up and where you send out. There has never been a line for where you're sending the letters and packages, at least since I've been at Loyola. It seems that people only ever receive them. Why are we not returning the favor? I try and send out at least three or four letters a week, to friends, to strangers, to loved ones.

Speaking of writing letters, one of my role models is someone who truly understands the value in writing letters. Hannah Brencher is my role model. Though I've never met her in person, I feel like I relate to this woman on such an emotional level. Brencher moved to New York City after she graduated from college and felt absolutely lost. Her mother had written her letters, so she began to find herself by writing love letters to strangers. There is an amazing TED talk by her all about her initiative to "make love famous."

Brencher has her own website all about writing more love letters. This site also focuses on you being able to sign up to send letters to those in need of some love -- and yes, these are all strangers. Writing your first letter to a stranger is the most overwhelming but empowering moment. You know absolutely nothing about what will happen once you mail the envelope or once you hide the letter around campus or around the city; you don't know if the person will open the letter and read it, be moved, crumble it up, hate you. It's such a rush of feelings. And just think, all of these emotions someone might experience come from the words you put on paper.

Thank you, Mr. McCluskey and Hannah Brencher, for teaching me the essential art form that letters provides to this world. Thank you for teaching me happiness by writing love letters to strangers, by writing letters to those who have helped make my life better. Expect a letter in the mail from me sometime this week!

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To The One About To Graduate

You may not know the next step to take after you get off that stage at graduation, but that can be the best part.

To the one about to graduate:

Congratulations! This is your final semester of your undergraduate college career. You have enjoyed a nice four (five, maybe six) years at your school, and all of your hard work, blood, sweat, and tears is finally about to pay off.

As someone who is about to graduate soon, I am not going to lie and say that looking into the abyss isn’t both thrilling and terrifying. There are few times in a person’s life when your life is absolutely full of opportunities.

There are so many possible choices for you to make as a new graduate. Maybe you want to settle down with your significant other and start a family. Perhaps you want to pursue a graduate degree and become a lawyer or doctor. If you are like me, you are possibly still deciding between many options.

The scariest part of the unknown is simply what it is: not knowing.

However, it should also be exciting. The future is ripe with possibilities, thrills, and sure maybe some disappointments. Not knowing is what makes life exciting.

Yes, your entire life has been clear-cut with someone telling you where to go next. This is the first time your choices are completely up to you, and that is something to celebrate!

You can be a YouTube star or a stay at home mom or dad, or you can travel the world and run a blog from wherever you find yourself on that particular day.

You could become a yoga teacher or a corporate lawyer, or maybe you realize you love education so much that you want to be a professional student for life.

For the first time in your life, there is no wrong choice or necessarily a right choice. You don’t have to go in a certain direction. You don’t need to have everything figured out, and it is okay to fail once in a while.

Your post-graduation years are meant for finding your way. Along the way, you may take a stumble or two, and that is perfectly fine.

As long as you continue to pick yourself up and commit to finding your way, you will find it eventually.

You may not know the next step to take after you get off that stage at graduation, but that can be the best part.

Sincerely,

Someone Also Trying To Find Their Own Way

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Confessions of a Single Mother in Her Twenties While in College

My new motivation

It's hard to imagine that at a mere 23 years of age a piece of me is running around, screaming the few words he knows, tormenting the family pets. It's even harder to remember that a few short years ago, this was not my plan. And boy, was I in for a reality check.

Looking around all I see is my friends, my classmates, and my peers going out and having a good time, achieving and exceeding all their goals. They can all take road trips at a moment's notice, to nowhere in particular. Sleeping until 3 in the afternoon on any day is a thing of the past.

What people do not realize is, as a mother in her early twenties, I was made to put many things on hold. A whole new life was in my hands. This was my new life.

Before being a mom, I thought I knew what it was like to be stressed, to be busy. My anxiety and depression were at all time highs. Most of the time I wouldn't make it half a day without a potential breakdown. That was my new life.

I had so many goals set long before the surprise blessing of motherhood. The cold, hard truth was that I was no longer the most important person in my life. Why do I keep reiterating that fact? Because, though I have always been a very selfless individual, I was now thrown into an entirely new level of it all. I know I am not alone.

Now, I balance a work life, college attendance, and try to still achieve all the goals I set out for all those years ago, somewhat changing my path as I have gone along. No more are the late night study sessions or cramming for exams. Nowadays, one must meticulously plan every possible free moment and be open to the fact that nothing will ever go to plan.

Having a support system makes it all feasible. I can see an end, though not within reach quite yet. I am doing so much on my own, little support, but the support I do have makes my goals achievable after all. It reminds me that this does not mean I have to give up. I have a little person that looks up to me, he relies on me. In the big scheme of things, he will be just as proud as I will be of myself.

It is not all bad. The staggering amount of love I have for this tiny human is intensely overwhelming, as is the love he has for me in his smile when he sees me walk through the door after a long, hard day of work. He is my new motivation, where before motivation was lacking. The things I now do for him I once dreaded doing. Study sessions are no easier to get through, but knowing that it will all pay off and provide a sense of stability for my child and myself is rewarding and pushes me through the next chapter and beyond.

You cannot let life get in the way, use your experiences as a fuel to the fire, as I have done. I am prepared for it to take longer, I am prepared for the sacrifice of missing out on a few things while he is young, and I know I will be able to provide for him when he is older and be able to prove to him anything you set your mind to is possible with enough hard work and perseverance.


I am a college student. I work full time. I am a Mom. I CAN do it all.


Cover Image Credit: Harsh The Blog

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