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Welcome back to everyone, I hope you are all happy to be back and to the freshmen, welcome! I
am currently starting my senior year, and it felt natural to ramble off a bunch of advice for
underclassmen on how to study, go to office hours, make a schedule, etc. However, I am not
going to do that.

Why? A couple of reasons; first, my experiences, like everyone’s, are unique. What worked for
me may not work for anyone else. Secondly, the only thing I have really learned how to do is fail
and try again. I can only assure you that, while many may have a plan, no one really knows what
they are doing. No matter how many times I plan out my future, it will never be perfect.

This summer I practiced Ashtanga Yoga for the first time in my life. One of the classes our
teacher told us about the Sanskrit word ‘Saucha’ meaning purity. However, this purity was not
how we understand purity today regarding innocence or virginity. Rather, this was purity of self
and who one was at their core. She went on to tell us that every day we go out and mess that up.
Yet, that is okay because you are expected to mess up, you should mess up. Failure is a part of
human nature and vital to human experience. For years I have been obsessed with becoming a
better version of myself, I was chasing some divine answer to who I was meant to be. I wanted to
be perfect in my healing, my recovery, and my growth. But what I was unwilling to accept was
that it is messy, it is filled with setbacks, and I will fail every day.

Circling back, I am good at failing, but that is not entirely true because I am even better at trying
despite it. Sometimes I give up on homework, I sleep in too late and miss class, I work until I
break down in tears, I try so hard and cry when it is not enough, I sometimes do not make it out
of bed, I am not the top of every class, I have failed exams. Yet, I have had so many successes
that have made it all worth it. You are going to fail for the rest of your life, but it does not matter.
Failures are natural, but so insignificant. Even when I fail at Saucha, I keep moving forward.
Your failures will not define you. So, try out the advice you have received, but if you fail at it, do
not beat yourself up. As a freshman, everyone told me “you must go to office hours, and it is
important in order to be successful”. But for my first two years I could not go because of my
social anxiety. I would beat myself up until I cried because I was so ashamed. What works for
someone else may not work for you. Even as a senior, I still get nervous talking to professors.

I started off not wanting to give advice because I have no idea what I am doing, and it is true. But
I guess my advice, keep trying, keep messing up, and make peace with that.

The Mountain

If the mountain seems too big today then climb a hill instead if the morning brings you
sadness it’s ok to stay in bed

If the day ahead weighs heavy and your plans feel like a curse there’s no shame in
rearranging don’t make yourself feel worse

If a shower stings like needles and a bath feels like you’ll drown if you haven’t washed your
hair for days don’t throw away your crown

A day is not a lifetime a rest is not defeat don’t think of it as failure just a quiet, kind retreat

It’s ok to take a moment from an anxious, fractured mind the world will not stop turning
while you get realigned

The mountain will still be there when you want to try again you can climb it in your own
time just love yourself till then

Laura Ding-Edwards 2019 ©

I am a Senior here at Purdue, studying Political Science and History with a minor in Economics. I am an avid environmentalist, vegan, and exercise enthusiast. I practice yoga, power lift, cycle, and play club soccer here at Purdue. I love reading, painting, and crystals.
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