Well, how do I put this?
You’ve made it to college and it’s nothing like you think it is. You have all these bright fresh ideas in your head and are preparing to dominate. You’re going to join thirty societies, you’re going to ace The Phil maidens debate, you’re going to pass all your classes and still have a social life and plenty of rest.
You poor thing.
Yes, you go to class and seminars and campus events but it’s going to get a lot harder than just that. Your silly catholic school girl fear of being embarrassed/wrong and putting yourself forward is still rife (you’ll bail on maidens before your first debate, almost go to that newspaper meeting and then “have to deal with a home emergency”, you’ll sit in the back whilst the rest of your classmates bond and sit in a row together at the front).
Look, you have a lot of growing up to do and the next four years are going to put you through your paces. So just hear me out.
Get rid of the tacky stationery and pick up your brick of a laptop. Yes, remember the pink Dell laptop that was recalled due to battery problems? Use it for a year and then throw it out a window. It’s useless.
You’re not going to be right 100% of the time. You may have been pretty smart in school but you have to prepare to be annihilated by students who are invariably better at the subject than you. And that is ok. That’s expected. This is the time to learn about grace, not perfection.
Date the first boy you see. It’ll teach you about not dating the first boy you see. (He will, however, set an unprecedented standard for men that to this day, you find difficult to find in anyone else and that is your fault, not theirs). You will also learn a lot about yourself and you will see that there is still immaturity in you (you’re still dealing with that, FYI).
Think the next four years will be good for your mental health? Mmm, wrong. Those incredibly stressful moments you put yourself through over the last three years will eventually come to a head and you’ll find yourself sitting in the waiting room of a counsellor’s office after Christmas of your first year. But it’s life changing. You transform and become an advocate for mental health. You meet incredible people and learn how to best look after your mind. You will be in a much better place.
I don’t want to give any #spoilers but let me tell you, a lot of things have happened you stumbled along the cobblestones of front square in the rain during Freshers’ Week. You’ve had your heart-broken many times. You recklessly broke someone else’s – and sometimes that’s just as bad. You went from being somewhat anti-social in your first two years to being a social butterfly by the time you’re 21. You get embroiled in minor debates, feel stupid numerous amounts of times, not come out too well in situations, get humiliated, and that’s all a given.
It’s not all bad, though. There have been some wonderful moments.
Moments where you found yourself a part of a movement that could actually change things. Moments where you saw others realise their potential. Moments of gratitude where you wanted to hold on to what you had for so long as you knew in a few months, it would be gone.
You make the most incredible friends. Some flit in and out over the next four years. Some are constants. Some build you up and inspire you to be the person you are today. Some help you realise exactly what you don’t want to be in life. Some open doors, others close them.
You go on a trip of a lifetime and can no longer look at photos of San Francisco without feeling a strong wave of sadness. You also have conflicted feelings about it. Not only from what it gave you but the lives it took and made you aware of your own mortality.
You make your mark on student society, you express yourself, create ideas, push boundaries and most importantly, you push yourself. And if I can let you in on a secret, because of this, you’re ten times the person you were this time four years ago.
So, things will be tough. And you’ll both hate and love yourself for pushing through it but from the other side, it’s worth it.
P.S. Donald Trump is president and the world is every so slightly falling apart.
Sorry about that.