Open Letter to Junior Year: Elise Kline

Dear Junior Year of College,

Through all of the ups and downs, the tears and the laughter, I have truly grown into a person that I am proud of. Through all of the lessons and challenges that I have faced over this past year alone, I have truly learned so more about myself and about life than I ever thought I could. AND through all of the experiences that I have had, both good and bad, I have gained strength, resilience, purpose and perspective.

It’s funny to think that three years ago, I naively walked into my college experience thinking I knew exactly what college was all about and what it was going to teach me. Now heading into the end of my college career, I want to take a moment to bask in the nostalgia of my experiences so far and what I have gained from them.

Learning to let go

I’m a planner. Always have been and always will be, which as you can imagine quickly challenged me when I entered the uncertain and uncontrollable universe, not just of college, but of adulthood in general. Letting go of things that I cannot control and learning to “go with the flow”, lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders and I was able to not only perform better in my academics, but I found myself feeling less stress and more joy.

“Let yourself feel”

Some of the best advice that I have ever received is to “let yourself feel”. I used to try to keep my emotions in perfect alignment and rarely let them fall out of line, at an attempt to seem more put together than I actually felt; however, given that life is full on unexpected challenges, I couldn’t sustain this. One bad day I needed help and I reached out to one of my closest friends, Erin McCoskey, and she said these few words that I now live by, “You have to just let yourself feel”. College and adulthood are full of incredibly hard life lessons that are completely overwhelming and we are only human. Sometimes you might need a minute to process or release whatever you are feeling and I encourage you to do that because it’s not only healthy and essential for you to heal, but it will help you relieve your stress.

Make memories and Experience as much as you can 

This past year, I challenged myself to just live, experience and make more memories. If that means you pick up a hula hoop when you see one and let your inner child come out, by all means do it! Life is way too short to not experience as much joy as you possibly can.

Family & Community

There is no greater feeling than finding your community of family and friends and spending quality time with them. Invest in the important healthy relationships in your life and be open to new ones as well. I know for me, I would not be the person I am today without the amazing support of my family and friends.

Boundaries

One of the most important things that I’ve learned this year is to respect my limitations. I am a respectful person that will be mindful of others limitations, but I’ve noticed that sometimes I don’t always respect my own. I think we all struggle to do this sometimes. I’ve learned that even though it’s important to try new things and step outside your comfort zone it’s also just an important to stay in tune with your own limitations. Respecting yourself and what you are and are not comfortable with is so important. It’s okay to have boundaries.

“You don’t have to abuse yourself to be successful”

This is a motto that I have created for myself and have religiously lived by over the past year. I have learned that although college requires us to be successful in our academics and our career preparations, we do NOT need to sacrifice health and self care to get there. Taking care of yourself is equally as important as achieving the goals you have and you will achieve those goals ten times better when you do.

Confidence

One of the greatest things that I learned this year is to believe in myself. I used to worry about what everyone thought about me and let others put me down and dictate my confidence. When I entered college, I was an insecure girl over-invested in what others thought about her, but today I am a woman secure of herself and unafraid of other’s opinions. Because, I had to learn a very important life lesson called, “confidence”. I had to learn to accept myself and love myself for every unique and wonderfully weird thing about me. I had to learn that the best way to “fit in” was to just be myself. I had to learn that others only have as much power over you as you given them and you do not have to let them tell you who you are or how you should feel. That’s your job and your job only. If someone doesn’t want to accept you for the amazing person you are, forget them. If a friend or someone you’re in a relationship with is tearing you down instead of building you up, walk away. Know your worth and believe that your true happiness matters and that starts with knowing that you are enough. Believe to achieve.

So, Junior year, thank you. Thank you for all of the memories, life lessons and much, much more.

XOXO