School is starting soon, and millions of kids are packing up their trunks, and heading to the unknown. They are leaving the nest, and flying solo for the first time. They are moving from their childhood home, into a dorm that is roughly the size of a closet.
I can remember the day I left for college perfectly. My Honda Civic was filled to the brim, and my eyes were wet as I drove 3 hours away to college. If only I knew then what I know now. This is what I would have told myself.
My dear Allison,
Sweetheart, I know you are scared right now, but its ok. Before you do anything else, take a deep breath. I will let you in on a little secret, it all works out in the end, so relax a bit, ok?
First, its ok to be scared. Don't try and force yourself to be strong. Those tears are real, and its ok to let them flow. High school wasn't that great, but this next adventure is going to be. You are going to make life long friends, and experience things that will shape your life forever, so buck up girl, its gonna be a good and wild ride. Be confident in your abilities. You are a good soccer player, and all the blood, sweat, and tears were worth it. Your entire college tuition is being paid because you can play ball. So play!
I will tell you right now, eating 4 single serve Stoffers lasagans for dinner is not a good idea. And stop eating hot pockets all the time, and for the love of pete, stop putting so much damn ranch dressing on everything. You may not understand why now, but your thighs will thank you later.
It may not be a good idea to call your parents at 3:00 AM on your first weekend off. Yes, your 1st college party was fun, but maybe next time, don't drink any party punch if you don't know whats in it. I can tell you that calling mom and dad crying and saying "I'm packing my bags and coming home, come get me tonight" will scare the crap out of them. They will leave the house at 5:00 AM just to be at your dorm by 8:00 to take you and your roommates to breakfast and shopping. Trust me on this one, skip the phone call, cause you stay, and you love it.
It is a good idea to take a broom, blast Michelle Branch, and stand on the counter and lip sing with your best friends. Do that more often, because you will never forgot those moments.
Its also a good idea to work a bit more in the summers. Don't just get a job because its easy, get a job because it pays. Come on now, you knew that one, right?
Don't join the sorority. Its a waste of time and money.
Just because an organization is giving away free food does not mean you should take it. Stop going to that creepy church's student center every week just because they are making spaghetti for lunch again, its not worth it.
That guy Jake, just avoid him all together, because he's a whole mess of stalker drama that you really don't need.
You will meet a lesbian for the first time, handle it better, ok.
Just because he plays sports does not make him a jock, so stop hanging out with the sissy pretty boys. It will only make you feel bad about yourself when you have to protect them.
Learn to play pool--it will make you look like a badass.
Finally, take risks Al. Stop being so scared all the time. Stop letting other peoples fears infiltrate your own life. You are young, its ok to fail sometimes. Its ok to fall down, to scrape your soul, to have a crushed spirit, to step out into the abyss. You are stronger than you know. You will survive, and thrive. See the cliff up ahead? Step over the edge, because even if don't make it across on the first try, there is no reason to believe the fall wont be just as exhilarating as the jump. Experience everything you can. Say yes, yes, and yes again to each opportunity. You are dying to go to Paris, so go. Live, explore, enjoy. Life is to be savored. Its sweet, its sour, and completely delicious. Trust your gut, trust that you know what you are doing. Trust your instinct, that tiny feeling in the pit of your stomach.
Have faith, have fun, and enjoy the ride,
What advise would you give yourself all those years ago?