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Dear Past Me, 

After four years of university, it’s finally time to put this chapter of my life to an end. Wow, it’s the first time I wrote that down. That’s the first time I got teary eyed about realizing this is it for me–tears of joy and tears of sadness. While the semester winds down and people are getting ready to start their summer jobs, start traveling again, or simply laze around making the most of the warm weather, I’ve slowly started to realize that this summer the next chapter of my life begins. 

During this part of my life, I honestly felt like I was in limbo. I was in between two worlds, two spaces in my life. School was ending and full-fledged adult life would begin. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Did I want to pursue my master’s degree? What the heck would I study for a masters? Would I find a full-time job where I like the people I worked with? Could I finally brush the dust off my passport and go somewhere? Would I have the opportunity to publish a book this year? Would I be a successful writer? What would I do after HerCampus? Will I fail? Have I wasted four years getting a degree only to fail? Would I flunk at being an adult? Would I get to travel? Could I see the world? Do I even want to see the world? Am I ready to let go of this chapter in my life? Why is this hitting me so hard? Am I afraid of the future? Will I be okay? 

These questions roamed around my head, following me like an ugly grey cloud for months. Every moment I spent thinking about those questions drew me into this dark hole I didn’t know how to dig myself out of. I got stuck in my head, worry made it hard to sleep, and fear made it hard to focus. People asked me repeatedly, “So, school is almost over, what’s next for you?” and I gave the same response every single time: “I still have time to decide. I don’t know what’s next. Guess I’ll find out.” The never-ending pressure of the looming next part of my life weighed down so heavily on my chest there were days when I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I was stressed, tired, drained–every emotion you could think of I felt this year. I was terrified of what came next for me. 

Here’s the thing, I was terrified of what would come next. 

Then one day something changed. I realized I’d said goodbye and closed doors to people, places, things all my life. I’ve said goodbye to friendships that didn’t last, I already graduated (high school of course). I’ve moved from one house to another, said goodbye to my childhood home. In every moment of my life, I’ve said goodbye before. And what I came to learn? I was okay afterwards. I was okay. I would always be okay. No matter where I land, I am going to be okay. I know we all know the quote: “Reach for the moon, even if you miss, you land among the stars.” I used to think it was cliché and silly, but the older I got the more I realized nothing could be truer. There will always be moments in my life when I might be unsure about what the future holds for me, if I’ll be successful, if I’m doing what I love, but no matter how many of those moments I have, I think about everything else I’m surrounded by. All of these new moments are meant to be my moments. 

So I won’t be a lawyer like Harvey Spector from Suits. I probably won’t go into law enforcement with my education completed. I might only reference my Criminology degree in conversation or in books I write. The life plan I set out for myself four years ago? It changed the minute I fell back in love with reading and writing. 

What will I do? Well, I’ll write my spicy romance novels. I’ll make people smile. I’ll make people laugh. I’ll start a podcast. I’ll see my friends when we can all get together again. I’ll do crazy things that are exciting and invigorating for my soul. I’ll travel around the world and see it from metaphorical corner to metaphorical corner. I will live my best life. 

It’s okay that you’re not on your original path, the trajectory got a little sidetracked, guess what? It’s okay! It was meant to do that. It was meant to be that way. The path you’re on is yours. So, say goodbye to the University of Ottawa. Say goodbye to HerCampus at U Ottawa. Say goodbye to 8:30am classes (we won’t miss those!). Say goodbye to exams, final papers, assignments, participation marks. Say goodbye to academia for now.  

Saying goodbye is scary. No, scratch that, it is utterly terrifying. It’s okay to cry about it, let out every tear you’ve kept in this year. It’s okay to feel a sense of relief, let out a hearty laugh and remember how hard you worked to get here, how proud you should be of every milestone you passed these last four years. You might get hit with a million emotions you weren’t expecting to get hit with. It’s like starting an amazing book, binge reading it like there’s absolutely no tomorrow, and realizing it’s over when you finish the epilogue. You’ll never get to experience all those emotions the way you did the first time. But that’s okay. Because you’ll pick up another book, and then another one, and another one. There are millions of books to choose from. The adventures are everywhere. Those precious first moments are endless. The stories are never truly over.

So close that door and jump. Jump into your next adventure. And those stars? They’ll catch you. 

Love, 

Future Me

Just your average criminology major, who enjoys watching Supernatural, The Boys and occasionally catching a hockey game. Probably off somewhere writing a novel!
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