Well it’s official, I just received my cap and gown and I’m graduating in December. I’m looking forward to being done with school but I can’t help looking back. I don’t think I’d change a thing honestly but there are some things that maybe I would change. Maybe I always knew and neglected them, or maybe I learned along the way. This I want to share.
So here it goes, in an address to my past self here are seven things for your consideration.
- Mary: your first love will break your heart; your best friendship will end; you will have the worst anxiety that you’ve ever had in your life; you will ruin dynamics, friendships and hurt people unnecessarily; and you will party a bit and not study enough. While having an unconventional college experience, you will have it all, and it will be more than you bargained for. Stop with the ‘woe is me’ you little dweeb and listen to yourself because I’m proof that we make it to graduation, and we do damn good outside of school.
- Move up here solo. You always knew that friendship wasn’t sustainable and despite your best efforts, there was no changing that without major change on both sides. Pay attention to the red flags; it’ll save you time and drama, and you’ll only have to move once.
- Those boys you think you could like romantically and try to date. Don’t. Just don’t. You know it’s not going to work out. They were fantastic friends, and you’ll miss them later. Keep them as friends. The one we didn’t date is probably one of the coolest humans. It will also help in those moments when Moscow feels like an island in the wheat. Keep those connections so you can see each other and chat!
- Something you’ll have to really work at. Just call your friends. Call home. You always feel better afterwards, so I don’t know why it’s so hard to do. And for the most part you can get a hold of them, you aren’t intruding, you aren’t an inconvenience. If they can’t talk then they aren’t ignoring you it’s part of adulthood’s learning curve. Everyone has their own stuff going on. It’s hard to sustain bridges without support and eventually some of them will crumble and some of them will burn.
- Ask mum when she got Breast Cancer. And, if it was estrogen receptive (it is) before you go to look at forms of birth control. Do your research don’t just get the shot on the spot. It works for others, but it’s still new and gets a little weird for us for a while so maybe save some grief and just don’t.
- Don’t work three very part time jobs until you’re exhausted. It’s stressful not knowing when you will or won’t have cash but it will also hurt your studying and especially with French it’s going to suck. Also you will walk away having liked none of those jobs.
- I only started doing this really this last year, but I should have done this sooner despite the juggling. Get to know your English department. It is made of the most phenomenal group of people who, despite common misconception, want to help even your uncommunicative class dodging butt. Go to class, talk to them, take their words in because they may not be illustrious or have the proper funding to do a lot all of the time but they know what they’re about and the crazy thing? They’ll check on you in their own ways! They’re empathetic humans, they have families, and they’re brilliant. Especially enjoy your grad students though, you’ll follow them on social media but let me tell you they relate and it’s inspiring to see them grow into published authors. You won’t regret it one bit. Lauren Westerfield is a kindred spirit with possibly the neatest reccomendations. Mike McGriff’s image heavy but his work is fantastic and so are his classes and his text recommendations. Erin James knows her stuff listen to her no matter how many times you have to re-read Cloud Atlas. Alexandra Teague is brilliant, her women in poetry class will make you think bigger. Brian Blanchfield will introduce you to all sorts of poetical masterminds and host probably one of the best groups. Stephan Flores will always have different perspectives to ponder and always has the best stories to share. Toby Wray and Jodi Nicotra are wonderful and probably some of the most personable people in charge you will ever meet. Anna Banks and Jan Johnson are experts in their fields so expect those classes to be outstanding.Also dude, suck up your pride go to the writing center and meet Mary Anne Judge and learn a thing or two. Nelson is a fantastic help when learning French it may not hurt to introduce yourself earlier. Mac Donald and Ladino are new to us in our last semester but there’s a reason that they’re legends before you even have a class with them, trust me it’s never a dull moment. Also bless Jen Baillargeon-Hauck for counseling you and going out of her way even when it wasn’t her job, she does so much its a wonder that she’s only one person.
Finally let me tell you where you’re at this morning. You’re listening to music with the person you love, they made you a coffee that smells heavenly, there are flowers on the table, and you feel like home together. You have a cat, a dog, and two beans that love you. Your friend group is pretty awesome and inspiring even if you’re still awful about keeping in contact. You can see all the fall leaves of Moscow out your window, you have goals and purpose which you didn’t before, and you’ve been actively working towards them for a while now. You’re writing, you’re involved, and you’re comfortable with others beyond the superficial customer service way that you thought was enough. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty proud of us.
This is a letter I would never send because I needed all of it to grow and I hope to those of you still reading that you can pull something out of it. I wouldn’t say life gets easier, I’d say parts do, parts get better, but in the last two years since moving to Moscow on my own I’ve learned to navigate it all. Navigating life becomes easier because I’ve grown, and that’s what I’m going to miss about college. But now I get to learn a new way to grow and if there’s anything my misadventures have taught me it’s that I should look forward to the next one.