My little sister is just like some of you—starting her first year of college in a place nowhere near our family, struggling with the grocery list of inconveniences that the universe loves to throw your way as a young adult. We’ve had so many phone calls where I wish I could freeze-frame, scratch record, and fast forward to how her life will be her senior year. And if you’re anything like her, I bet you would also love to skip ahead to the good (or relatively better) stuff.
But, as much as we all wish that life was like that Adam Sandler movie where he had a magical remote, it isn’t. Instead of a magical remote that could turn back time (cue Cher) or fast forward it, I have for you a bunch of little things I think my first-year self would have loved to know. We can think of it as a sped-up version of the daily conversation my sister and I have about what to do when and how. Here it goes.
Happiness will come so much easier once you gain confidence in yourself in any part of life. Work out, get stronger, take up a hobby. Do what you need to do to gain that sense of self-worth. You’re here for a reason. Find a passion. Find multiple passions. Work hard, but don’t exhaust yourself. Make all types of friends. Coffee date friends, shopping friends, anything friends. But find the friends you will have for life. Be a good, nice person. The world needs them.
Do not stress on love right now under any circumstances necessary. You are too young to be worrying about people who can’t see how amazing you are. Fall in love with your school, with your city, with your town. Fall in love with life. Run through an empty street at night. Ride a bike, feel the wind on your face. Feel so alive. Try all the good things, avoid all the bad things. Find out what “healthy” means to you in every aspect of life. Be your definition of healthy.
Call your mom and/or your dad. Call the people you miss the most. Tell them things, take their advice because they are way wiser than any friend or peer you can make right now. Don’t lose focus on your work but don’t have your head in a book 24/7. Say hi to people in your classes and make friends. Do it while you’re in this uber-social setting. Be responsible. Set a reminder to do laundry. Set a reminder to do a face mask once in a while. Be a good friend, always check in on people because they’re probably struggling too.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from anyone. Your mental health is so much more important than you think it is. Treat yourself but don’t go off the deep end. Find a job with good people, work up to a good amount of independence. Be social, get out there, and be young with the people you enjoy spending time with. Don’t forget to take some time out of your day for yourself. Learn the difference between peer pressure and a genuine invitation. Take pictures and videos. Send postcards to your family.
Mess up while it doesn’t matter that much but learn how to pick yourself up. Smile and cry because you’re happy. Be sad or mad if you need to. Find your way back to happiness because these are the happiest times you will have in your young adult life.
Thank the universe for this opportunity. Never forget your keys, ID, or wallet. Have fun. Find yourself. Be yourself.