An Open Letter to the Class of 2025

To the Class of 2025, 

 

First and foremost, congratulations on the commencement of your college journey! I’m sure you have worked very hard to get where you are and starting a new chapter is incredibly exciting. 

My name is Elise—I’m a senior majoring in Communications & Media studies at Emmanuel College. Today, less than two weeks away from graduating, I offer to you all this open letter as a guide you can take with you through your college journey. 

One Step at a Time 

“One step at a time,” a mantra that has helped me through many of the challenges that I have faced through my college experience. The next four years will challenge you in ways that you have never been challenged before, both in your education and your personal life, and it can become very overwhelming. Reminding yourself to take a breath and overcome whatever challenge is in front of you, one step at a time helps reduce anxiety. 

Be in the Moment 

As a type A planner, this was and still is a challenge for me; however, some of my best and most memorable experiences in college came from my decision to “be in the moment.” Embrace your spontaneous side and let yourself let go every once and while, you deserve it! 

It’s Okay to Not “Have it all Together”

College is full of hard life lessons, especially for your class beginning their college experience in the middle of a global pandemic, and handling that emotional, physical and mental stress is not easy on top of your coursework. Remember that it’s okay to not be okay and you are not alone. Not only are you surrounded by people who love and support you, but you are surrounded by people who understand and relate to pain and struggle. None of us have it all together, we all have our own mental health challenges we are dealing with. 

Trust me, I’ve spent much of college experience trying to fool everyone into thinking I had it all together when sometimes what I really needed was to just let myself have my feelings. Hiding the fact that I was struggling actually made it harder for me to overcome the challenge I was facing. Embrace whatever you need to feel and embrace being on the struggle bus. 

It’s Okay to Fail 

It’s hard to accept, but it really is true, failures do teach you more than successes. After you fail, you pick yourself back up and you rise. That’s when you grow. That’s when you learn. None of us enjoy failing and of course you don’t want to fail all of the time, but don’t be afraid of failing. It will happen and it has happened to every college student at one point or another. 

Self-care is Important Work 

Taking care of yourself is a lot of work and it’s not something to take lightly. For most of you, the commencement of your college education is the first time you have to take care of yourself. It’s challenging and it takes work—trust me I understand how hard it is and how tempting it is to ignore. The best thing you can is to simply keep at it. Keep trying. Keep finding small ways each day to take care of yourself, whether that’s writing a little note to remind yourself that you are worthy or taking a snack break after studying. 

You are NOT defined by Your Body or Your Beauty 

My last token of advice is one that I strongly believe every young woman should know.

Your appearance and your body are NOT what defines you and no, one, I repeat, no one, has a right to sexualize or objectify you. 

This can be especially hard to face in your formative college years as others try to convince you otherwise, and as a college woman who has survived two eating disorders and sexual harassment and abuse, I am here to say that you desreve nothing less than to be treated with kindness, respect and equality. 

You are strong. You are intelligent. You are brave. And you are incredibly capable. Don’t let anyone make you believe anything different. 

The next four years ahead of you are going to be both challenging, may even seem impossible at times, and exciting, exhilarating and some of the best of your life. 

I wish you all the best of luck! 

 

Sincerely, 

Elise C’20