It’s hard to believe it but it’s been over two years ago now since I graduated college. Time has flown by. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was stopping by Starbucks on the way to my next class or event. Lately I have thought a lot about what I wish I had known during my college years that I know now. If I could talk to my 18-year-old self, what would I say? I might say something like this.
Your probably wondering who this is. It’s me, or I guess you could say you, at 24. You just graduated high school right? About to move off to Florida but start your college adventure in Pennsylvania! If I remember correctly you are equal parts nervous and excited. So much is going to happen over the next few years. I wanted to check in with you and give you some insight on the next four years of your life. Just some advice from me to, well, me.
Your start of your freshman year of college will be exhilarating. You are in a totally new place, surround by new people, and new expectations. Sure, you are going to have fun but you’ll be homesick too. It is hard being so far away from home, but the experience of being so far from everyone is going to make you stronger. I’ll let you in on a little secret. You are only going to be here for a semester before moving back home and taking classes online for a semester. By fall of sophomore year you will move away from home again and be attending the University of South Florida. It will be the best decision that you make in your college career!
You should be very proud of all you’re are going to accomplish during your college career. Some of your classes will be rough at the start but you will power through and succeed. All of those long nights and days studying at the library will one day be worth it. But remember you don’t have to be perfect. Yes, I know that you are a perfectionist and want everything to be just right. But you need to know that it is important to relax and take care of yourself. One grade will not make or break you. College is not just about your gpa and being the best. It is a time to learn who you are and have fun. Don’t get hung up on the little things. Everything will work its self out in the end.
After sophomore year you are going to join a cohort for your major and spend the next two years having the same 34 girls in all of your classes. A couple will leave but for the most part you will not see anyone else in your classes but this point forward. But no worries! Everyone in this group of girls will become super close. By graduation you will feel like family. These girls will become your support system. Lean on these girls and enjoy the time you have with them. They will get you through some tough times.
To be honest you are not going to have the best luck with roommates the first few years of college. But don’t worry, it doesn’t last. You will have fun with your roommate your fall semester freshman year but you already knew her. Sophomore year your roommate is nice but you don’t get super close and your suite-mates are loud and crazy. Junior year your living situation in your new apartment is tough. Your roommates don’t talk to you and when they do it is basic small talk. You will feel awkward living here this year and will spend much of your time on campus or at other friends’ dorms and apartments. Senior year this all drastically changes! You will move into a new, super nice apartment complex with one of your best friends from your cohort and another one of your friends. You guys will have another random roommate who makes things awkward for bit, (serious, what was going on with her), but soon she decides to leave and you guys get a new roommate who is awesome. You all will get along well and have so much fun. I’ll tell you now that it will be the greatest time ever-living with one of your best friends and getting to hand out 24/7! You will miss it when you move out.
Speaking of roommates you are going to make so many good friends in college. During your college classes, you will get close to a good majority of your classmates. They say college classes are tough and boring, but once you are in your cohort classes will start to feel like hanging out with a bunch of your friends. You will grow together and experience both tough moments, and times where you couldn’t imagine life without each and every one of them. You will have a lot of fun together outside of classes too. There are so many things you will do, and experience together and you will never forget any of these moments. From study groups, Starbucks, a wedding, dinner with the cohort, a cruise, and more, there is so much you are going to do and enjoy over the next 4 years. Years later you will look back and truly see how lucky you were to make such good friends.
The next few years are going to have a lot of ups and downs. You are going to go through a lot of tough, and at times scary things, but you are also going to enjoy some of the very best moments of your life. Try not to hurry it along hoping to be done. One day down the road, you are going to wish you could do it all over again.
Most importantly, remember to have fun and enjoy it. It goes by way to fast.
If you could send your younger self a letter would you? What would it say?