Dear 3 AM,
Isn’t it funny, that you can go 18 years of your life feeling like you have it all figured out, just to find out you still don’t remember how to do your own laundry? And this is only the beginning.
Eight months ago, worries of what people might think would have kept me from putting my thoughts out for all who knew me. Today, I realize you do these things for you and not for anyone else. So here I am writing a letter, and somehow finding myself in the process.
In my first year of college, I truly realized how little I had come and how far I have to go. Leaving home for the first time eight months ago, set me out on a journey that I could have never imagined. That journey has been complicated, confusing and one heck of an adventure. This year, I have grown immensely in my understanding of myself and the chaotic life that surrounds me. These lessons have guided my freshman year and have turned in to persistent reminders on surviving life on my (almost) own.
To the friendships that have been lost: Remember that God has a plan and that people are truly sent into your life when you need them most and leave when their purpose is fulfilled. If your life is anything similar to mine, you will feel the absence of so many people who use to be your whole world. When you feel this absence, remember that they may just have finished their part of your story and be moving on to the next chapter of their life. Let them go, let them find their next chapter, let them become a better them, let them be great.
This lesson of letting go will be one of the biggest struggles that you will ever endure during your freshman year. You will feel like you know what’s best and that the advice of letting go is for everyone but you. You would refuse to accept the change and fight for these people to remain in your life.
One of the greatest lessons that you will ever learn is that if you actually care about these people, let them go. Let them go be great, let them grow on their own, and let them find themselves. Pray for them and be proud of them. Realize that you were blessed to know them and witness the beginning of their great life. Watch as they soar, and know you were a part of a chapter that got them to where they are today. Let that be enough.
To the gained friendships: This is what college is about (besides school, of course). Freshman year is the year you will gain the most wonderful and unique friendships in the world. You will make an abundance of those “friends for life” and you will be happier than ever to have them by your side. You will be severely confused on how you survived your first 18 years without them, and not so casually let them know that they are stuck with you for the next 60 years.
You will have your roommate who if you’re as lucky as I was, will become a best friend, your family, and the person you spend countless hours enjoying and accepting the severe Netflix addiction you both suffer from.
You will have Greek involved friends and not so Greek involved friends that will equally impact your life in all different ways.
You will have your much-needed classmate friends who will sometimes be the only reason you pass a class — be extra thankful for them, because they just took one for the team.
You will have your life of the party friends or as I like to call them “Meredith and Molly”, who will never let you forget that college is about having a good time and seizing every opportunity thrown your way.
No matter the assortment of friends you will inevitably make, you should know they are the glue to your college experience. Don’t be afraid to tell them their importance and never to let them forget how thankful you are for their existence. They rock, and they should know it.
Beyond the blessing of friendship, you will also ultimately realize the overwhelming importance of your parents.
As a freshman, you will discover that the people you couldn’t wait to not have bossing you around, are actually your rock and biggest fans. The countless hours you spent under-appreciating them will now have you spending the rest of your life letting them know how much you value and appreciate their support.
With a new found respect and appreciation of your parents, you can quite possibly make the greatest friends in the world in them. The friendship you bestow in your parents is the most genuine, empowering, and beautiful thing in the world that God gives us on earth. Sadly, it takes most of us 18 years to discover the true greatness of this friendship. With first-hand experience of having parents who have grown into my best friends, I can promise you that there is nothing more fulfilling.
In the past year, I transitioned from the daughter who all who knew me thought I would never call home, to a daughter that my parents hear from daily. These phone calls encompass some of the greatest advice, laughter, and love that I have ever experienced. Whether you’re having a rough day, a great day or even just running low on the summer cash that was supposed to last you all year, the phone call home will always be beneficial. No one on earth knows you better than the people that brought you here, so be thankful for them, and happy God gave you such a fantastic pair of built-in friends.
Freshman year is tough, yet amazing, and your biggest fans want nothing more than to know all about it, so don’t hesitate to share. Don’t take these guys for granted, they’re the most important people God has given you.
Lastly, if there were anything in the world that I could have engraved in my mind during these past eight months, it would be to love yourself unconditionally and never to forget to see your self-worth. When you begin a new journey and lose your comfort zone in a matter of seconds, your self-love is truly tested.
This is the time you should remind yourself that no matter what is happening in your life, loving yourself and seeing your value should always be first and foremost.
If you are anything like myself, you struggle with this concept and seeing the truth in those words on an almost daily basis. You constantly compare yourself to the skinnier, the prettier, and more talented people around you. These comparisons are nothing but a warped perception of judgments you make and have no serious meaning to anyone but you. In these moments, don’t lose sight of your great attributes. God gave you this life, body, and characteristics for a purpose, and we all should take pride in his work and not devalue oneself from a skewed perception in our head.
Loving oneself is a constant battle that requires constant effort and endless do-overs. I would tell myself to not let others define your value and always to stand up for the things that matter to you. You are in charge of loving yourself, and no one can or should be in charge of creating a value to you. In the end, freshman year is tough, and you must always fight to believe in yourself. You must not forget to love yourself as much as you love others.
This year doesn’t define who you will always be, but it’s a beginning of a great journey. Your journey isn’t always going to be easy, and in those not so easy moments you must remember to have confidence in yourself. As long as you have confidence, you will always be able to overcome the day on top. So remind yourself that you got this, and you’re killing it on your (almost) own.
To wrap up this never-ending, yet essential letter I have written to not only you, but also myself, I ask that we remember that this is just the beginning. You have only just begun this journey, and you have all the power in the world to make it the most beautiful, unique and impactful adventure. God has given you everything in his possible power to succeed and sore. Take advantage of the blessings of friendship, the great parents you have, and the value in yourself that he has bestowed in your life.
Laugh a lot, cry a little, and continue to make the memories of a lifetime. Always choose to live by your rules, and let others live by their own. This is your time, your moment, your life, and you’re going to be great. So be proud of yourself, you’re surviving on your (almost) own for the first time in your life.
You may not realize it now, but you’re leading only a life that you can lead, and freshman year is only the beginning of your kick-ass story.
4 AM & exhausted.