dear 18-year-old self,
hi, i’m about to graduate in 5 hours and you haven’t even entered it yet. get ready.
i know you’re scared of college, i know it doesn’t make sense yet and i know it’s not exciting yet, but it will be. you’re going to learn A LOT in the next 4 years (spoiler alert: it’ll actually only take you 3 and 1/2 and you’ll wonder why you graduated early) but i just wanted to share a little advice with you before you enter the greatest university in the world (go bobcats!!!).
based on what i have learned in these college years, here’s some wise words and Advice from me to you:
buy someone a drink. coffee or alcoholic. when they’re having a bad day, when you’re feeling generous, or both. this is the simplest thing to do but it is the easiest gesture to just spread a little love. pay for the person behind you in line. offer a refill. this is a good thing.
stay up all night just to appreciate sleep.
go on a road trip. see things you’ve never seen, even if they’re only 15 minutes away.
stop being so cynical of love. you’re going to heal, you’re going to get back on that horse. i know that you still want to make sarcastic comments anytime anyone enters a relationship but you’ve gotta refrain. you’re gonna get over it. you’re gonna listen to a lot of adele and some nights you’re gonna cry, but you’re gonna become a better woman from all this and more that anything, you’re gonna laugh about it in the end.
PICK UP THE GUITAR IN YOUR CLOSET AND ACTUALLY LEARN IT. also, think about finding a ukulele. trust me.
offer to drive everyone. make playlists for the car. don’t overlook how much bonding is going to take place just driving around your small college town.
make cookies. learn that cookies take almost no time or effort to make, but they are secret code for caring. LEARN THIS EARLY and then make them often, make a lot of them and give them to your friends. no reason needed.
i know it seems stupid right now, self, but you’re gonna get really into fashion and you’re gonna have a heart for it and you’re gonna find a style that suits you and looks good. just trust me on this one. embrace the fact that you love leopard print and vintage 1960s looks and go with it. also, thrift stores will be your new home, so bring febreeze.
try not to be so dramatic. keyword: try.
you’re gonna watch a heck of a lot of good tv. don’t let anyone tell you that this is a waste, because certain episodes are going to bring you to tears and you’re gonna realize that that’s what you wanna do with your life. you’re gonna make a best friendship cemented with buffy the vampire slayer. you’re gonna marvel at mad men and be blown away by the heart and simplicity of pushing daisies. share these with other people and watch episodes together and all fall in love with the artform of visual media.
take pictures!!!! take a million pictures! TAKE SO MANY PICTURES -but don’t get lost in the nostalgia of them. appreciate the memories but don’t get stuck trying to relive them. the past can hurt if you try and stay in it. always be moving forward, always look for new little places and people to give your heart to and share your life with.
call your mom. you’re gonna grow so close to her. she understands that a spoonful of nutella counts as a meal. she understands that growing up is hard. she knows what to say and when to listen and when to pray.
call your dad. he’s gonna teach you how to fix a flat tire and a broken heart.
call your brother and grandparents. they’ll always have a good story to tell and a good restaurant recommendation.
don’t worry so much.
everyone’s gonna get on you about dating and at family gatherings everyone will ask if you have a boyfriend. just smile at them politely. i know you want to punch them, but please, smile.
and whenever you get sad, just switch decades and go live in the 60s and 70s for a little while. play soul music and old country and psychedelic tunes and dance in your room till it gets better. let jimi’s guitar solos speak when you can’t, let sam cooke cheer you up with that divine voice of his and let john, paul, george & ringo continue to sing you to sleep.
keep writing songs, please. keep writing them and singing them even if no one hears them. maybe let someone hear one. and then two people. and then three. and before you know it, you’ll be strumming them in a coffee shop with your best friend adding harmonies. ps, you’re gonna grow so much from this.
don’t be so negative on the internet. don’t vent. use the internet as a place of creativity and humor and connection.
smile at people you don’t know. it’ll freak them out a little, but what’s not fun about that?
go play. go be outside and run around and do cartwheels in the sunshine. build blanket forts and eat candy. you don’t have to grow up just yet.
pray, read your bible, talk to people about jesus. seek him when it’s not going right, cry to him when it’s not fair and tell him everything you need. don’t let loneliness creep in; remember that you are loved.
you’re going to live with some wonderful ladies who make college apartments feel like one big sleepover. cherish this even when yall get on each other’s nerves. reconcile by making breakfast and going shopping and getting manicures and watching chick flicks, because it is perfectly okay to be a girl and be feminine and sometimes spend too much time talking about ryan gosling and shoes. embrace those x chromosomes.
guess what? get ready for the greatest men in the world to enter your life! you’re gonna find boys who teach you what you want and they’re gonna respect you and make you feel pretty and loved even without saying anything. you’re gonna be the luckiest, most envied lady for all the great guy friends you have in your life. appreciate this and love them back.
go to that stupid freshman year seminar that has that speaker who you’ve never heard of and look for the boy who’s messing with the zebra phone case. i know that looking back it will be embarrassing when you tell him within the first five minutes of meeting that you two will be best friends someday, but trust your instincts. and get ready for the best friend of your little life.
and you know what? even though sometimes your feelings are messy and undecided and up-in-the-air, don’t be afraid to share them.
oh, and don’t forget that no one looks good in that silly hat, but the least you can do is add a little pizazz to it.
(and don’t worry, your hair’s still big in the future.)
your 21-year-old ready-to-take-on-the-world-but-not-really blessed-with-the-greatest-friends-in-the-world self