Dear unnecessarily stressed 19-year-old Amrit,
Right now, you’re just a bit of a lost first-year who is not really enjoying their degree as much as they should and, quite frankly, needs to lighten up a bit. As first-year essays and a premature fear of your future beyond university consumes your thoughts, nothing could really prepare you for the highs and lows of the next year.
Your almost 21-year-old self is writing this letter to you as, believe it or not, you have grown so much in the past year. Living through a pandemic was kind of a blessing in disguise, as it revealed to you what was really important in a life that is too short. You will make memories with your family as you spend every waking minute with them and strengthen your closest friendships as they survived lockdown after lockdown. While you may suffer from stints of stir-craziness and have moments of crying about missing freedom and the feeling of living your youth to the fullest, the experience makes you stronger and grateful for everything that you have.
Most notably, you will find your true passion which will change your life and make you happier than ever. Yes, your vinyl record shopping may turn into an addiction, but with music being your safe haven in a crazy 2020, music journalism and writing your feelings down about the records closest to your heart will come to define your life and potential career. You won’t believe me when I say that your shy self who won’t even talk to a stranger will have the opportunity to interview your favourite bands and singers as you come out of your shell immensely in an effort to become a successful journalist, as you feel more and more comfortable sharing your thoughts with the world. You’re even going to potentially start a podcast!
These experiences will also connect you with some of the most amazing people. In the next year, you will lose some of the friends who you thought would be by your side forever, but you will also meet some amazing people who have the same passions as you and end up with a supportive circle who has your back at all times. And your current friendships will continue to flourish as you make amazing memories with your closest companions (you know who you are if you’re reading this!).
On a deeper level, there will be some lows you will have to encounter. From falling out of love with your degree and contemplating dropping out to nearly losing your best friend to a coma, the next year will not be easy. But these lows make you appreciate the highs even more as you continue on the journey to live life to the fullest and find yourself. From cutting off toxic friendships to speaking your mind and finding your own style and interests, and loving them no matter what people may say, I am proud of the way you have grown into a near-university graduate.
Writing this right now, you are still a stress-head (nothing has changed there) worried about the future and making it as a journalist. While you are slowly finding your love for your degree again, you need to give yourself a bit of a break and try not to work too hard and burn out in first year. Although the main thing to say is that you will be completely fine. Enjoy every second of university life and don’t take it for granted. Your homesickness will still be there, but it will get so much better as you even consider potentially moving to Cardiff for a Masters! Keep working hard – the lack of sleep some weeks as you spend your free time writing and editing will pay off as you chase your dreams. Oh, and remember to keep that concert savings fund topped up, you will definitely need it for the years ahead.
An older, and still stressed, Amrit x