Freshman year of college brings so many new, mixed adventures and feelings. The feeling of freedom as you move into your new home for the school year but also the feeling of sadness seeing your family leave to go back home. Freshman year is a time where people find themselves and realize what they want to do with their lives. There are a few things that I wish I had learned and done differently my first year as a Maryville College student. So, with that being acknowledged, here is an open letter to past me, from future me.
Dear Chloe of August, As you adapt to your new surroundings, feeling happy and scared at the same time, there is one thing I want you to know. Right now, your life is one giant crossroad. It’s exciting. It’s frustrating. It’s temporary. I hope you have a few more things figured out by now, but I still hope you have questions. Questions about life, relationships, opportunities and so much more.
Listen, at this point you aren’t supposed to have everything in your life figured out. You are supposed to have questions. In my opinion, the whole idea of having your entire life all figured out is, to be frank, stupid. So, don’t feel the pressure to grow up so fast. Yeah, of course you need to be responsible, but don’t grow up so fast that you miss the best years of your life. They are the ones that will matter the most, so don’t lose them.
To go along with the previous paragraph, a piece of advice I want you to keep in mind is this Buddha quote I am fixing to tell you, ‘Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.’ This speaks volume to me because it is exactly the point I want to get across to you. You are not the person you were a year ago, so don’t linger on your actions back then. Think about the future but don’t linger on it too long because if you do, you will lose your grip on the current days.
As your college days continue, you will feel drained and will feel like quitting, but you must keep going and persevere through the hardships. It will seem impossible on some days but, in the end, it will be so worth it. You will love how much your hard work paid off, especially when other people tell you how well you have done. If you still feel discouraged and feel like quitting, push through those thoughts and think of why you came here and the difference you can make in the world. Also think about how big of a difference you can make not only for yourself but everyone when you go back home.
Another thing I want you to keep in mind as you continue your path of life is you are worthy, you aren’t a welcome mat that people can walk all over. A Roy E. Disney quote I live by says ‘When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.’ Learn to say no. If you keep agreeing to every little thing, it will start weighing you down and you will lose your primary focus. Saying no isn’t a bad thing, so never think you are a rude and terrible person for saying it. When you say no, you aren’t doing it to be rude, you are doing it to better yourself. You can say yes but be cautious when doing so. Before you make a decision, you need to assess how it will affect you. Will it be something you will regret? Will it affect you in a negative way? Will it benefit you? One thing you need to remember is never make a decision based on your feelings at that given moment.
I hope you are still taking risks and never back down for what you believe in. I hope you are still fighting for the rights of all the oppressed. A quote by Malcom X really defines what I mean by not backing down. ‘I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.’ This quote speaks to me because it defines what I mean when I say fighting for their rights. Fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. If you have a platform to use, put it to good use and don’t neglect the privilege of your platform.
Chloe, I hope that all the hard work you have put in and the advice I have given you will help you succeed and help you reach your dreams. I just want you to know that me and everyone back home are proud of what you have and will accomplish. If you ever start to doubt yourself or your purpose here at Maryville College, remember the quote Dad told you years ago ‘No matter what you do or where you go, I will always be proud of you.
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