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An Open Letter To My First Year Self (As I Enter Fourth Year)

Dad always said time would fly by—that first year would feel like an eternity, but then you’d blink and be graduating. I didn’t really believe him at first. I mean, first year did feel like an eternity. I thought I would have all this time to do all these cool things.

But I guess I blinked.

I know you’re not thinking about the prospect of graduation right now. You’re too stressed about living in a literal shoebox and communal showers and moving away from home for the first time ever. I can’t really tell you that the next four years are going to be easy and painless and that you’ll escape completely unscathed, because they’re not and you won’t. What I can tell you is that you’ll find your passion and calling, you’ll travel and drink and dance and grow. These next four years won’t be easy, but they will be worth it.

People are going to come and go through your life that you thought would never leave. That boy you thought you might be with forever? He doesn’t even last until Christmas. It’s going to hurt like hell but you’ll get through it. You’ll fall in love again. You’ll meet people that will stay.

They always say that the friends you meet in college will be your friends for life. That you’ll meet your future bridesmaids through some drunken haze in a dimly lit bar bathroom at some point during O-Week. They weren’t wrong. You don’t know it yet, but the girl in the dorm two doors down from you will still be two doors down in the house you share a couple years from now. The roommate you spent months stressing over whether they’d be at least slightly normal will end up being your best friend.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if the veggies in the cafeteria are overpriced and overcooked, it doesn’t matter if you’re scared to even touch the shower curtain with the suspicious stains all over it, it doesn’t matter that you moved away from home to live in a literal shoebox with a perfect stranger. It doesn’t matter because that perfect stranger won’t be a stranger forever. You’ll cry with happiness when you get your first 80 percent. You’ll join a club that makes you feel strong and powerful. You’ll learn who you are.

If I actually could reach back and give you some magical piece of advice, I would tell you to just do everything as you have. Because even though it was hard and even though there will be moments when you won’t think you can do it anymore—despite the failing grades and tears and mental breakdowns, despite everything—you make it to senior year. And you’re happy. And you’re successful.

Just don’t blink.

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Charlotte recently graduated from an Honors BA in English Literature, and is returning to Western as a Graduate Student studying for her Master of Media in Journalism and Communication. Catch Charlotte as the Senior Editor of the Her Campus Western chapter. 
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