It’s officially time to go back to school and it’s been exactly 10 years since I was heading into my first year of college. That’s hard to grasp. I honestly still feel like I’m 20. Is this what it’s like to get older? Since it’s the 10 year anniversary of my Freshman Year, I thought I’d take the time to gather some thoughts on what I’ve learned the last 10 years and write a letter to my future self, my imaginary future daughter and anyone else who is heading into some of the most important adolescent/early adult years. I know listening to adults is lame. I thought the same thing and pretty much took no advice from any old people, though I wish I had. I might have listened to an older sister, so pretend that’s what I am right now.
Don’t get hung up on the things you have, don’t have or the things others have.
Going into college, I was materialistic. Just like adult me, I loved clothes, handbags and tennis shoes. But back then, my closet revolved around having designer things and a lot of them. I spent too much money on purses and clothes the first two years. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my wardrobe, but looking back, was it really necessary? I wish I would have spent that money (in all honesty, it was my parents’ money) on traveling or experiencing new things with friends or even saving money for the real world. Somewhere after graduation (probably when I had to get a job), I realized that driving a modest car and wearing affordable clothing could be just as fashionable and meant I could still afford to eat. Just focus on being happy and not letting ‘things and stuff’ dictate that happiness. Disclaimer: money is still something I struggle with so no financial advice will be given here.
Just forget about boyfriends for awhile.
This is a huge one. I wasted a lot of time following boys through life when I could have been making better friends, taking care of myself or doing the thousand other things I love to do. I don’t care how much you think you love them, they’re probably holding you back in some way. Especially those first two years. Being single (though admittedly it wasn’t for very long) changed my life completely. I truly found myself, started my blog, made good with old friends, got a part-time job and finally committed to minoring in Fashion Merchandising and studying abroad. You are more important than any guy. Leave him in the dust and if it’s meant to be it’ll happen later. Or it won’t and you’ll date your future husband next. 🙂
Let it go.
There’s really no reason to hang on to that animosity you have towards someone from high school. People change so much, yourself included, that you really should just let everything go and start fresh. There’s a reason why they say college is a place to reinvent yourself. Someone might have tried to kiss your boyfriend in middle school but she also might be the girl you run into at the bar when all of your friends have left you and you need a ride home. If you feel guilty for the way you’ve treated someone in the past, man up and apologize. I did that to a few people and not only did it create stronger friendships, but it was also so freeing.
Try everything while you can.
College is the one place to learn so much inside and outside of the classroom. I did a pretty good job at taking a variety of classes I was interested in (like fashion merchandising, art history, music history, advertising), but outside of the classroom I wish I would have been brave enough to try new things. I really, really wish I would have started my blog earlier. It wasn’t until I met my (now) husband that I had the confidence to develop this little thing and actually tell people I had it. I also wish I would have tried more hobbies, even if it meant failing. Always say yes, then figure it out later.
That’s it. Just travel. Make friends with people who live out of state and visit them over the summer. Study abroad. Take weekend trips. Travel to away football games. Go on a road trip. See everything you can!
Talk to the girl/guy next to you in class.
I am shy by nature. I took online public speaking… I’m not making that up. But one thing that I’ve learned as an adult is that you never know what could happen by striking up a conversation with a random person. Ten years ago, the thought of speaking to a random person on the street would be so scary and crippling that I would be sweating profusely right now just typing this out. I truly wish I would have had the guts to strike up a conversation with some of the girls in my fashion merchandising classes for the sake of having friends who understood me. You never know who you’re going to meet and what it might mean for your future. Make new friends, because this is the first time in your life you can really choose your who they are.
Take care of yourself.
Out of everything, I wish I would have made my health and fitness a priority in my life from a young age. I didn’t consistently workout until I was 23. I learned what some vegetables were because my roommate my Junior/Senior year was a Dietetics/Nutrition major (sorry if I butchered that Crystal). I was always bigger than my friends, but I never knew how to get in actual, healthy, strong shape and my metabolism was so messed up from eating Gumby’s Pokey Sticks (if you know, you know) and then not really eating anything else to balance it out. Please, please learn as much as you can about health and nutrition while you’re young. Please, please take fitness seriously when you’re young. Carry these healthy habits into adulthood because once you sit down at a computer for 9 hours a day, you’re going to hit a wall. Also take baths and read books you love and try a face mask or two.
I’ve been thinking about so many of these tidbits for the past couple years. While I don’t regret anything, I do wonder what life would have been like if I’d tried a yoga class before I was 24 years old, or made more new friends, or not held myself back from trying new things because I was scared to fail or embarrass myself.
If you would add anything to this list, what would it be? Comment below!