Before You Leave Home For College: An Open Letter To My Freshman Self
How is it going? As the departure day is approaching, you must feel really nervous. I just want you to know that everything will sort itself out alright! You have witnessed friends of yours thriving on personal and professional growth. It’s your turn now to burst out of your bubble and explore the world; the journey ahead will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance that you will be glad you have taken. It’s surely eye-opening: you will change in different regards and your perspectives will change, for the better of course. Anyways, here are some preparations I want you to make for yourself:
- Please, get yourself together, do some exercises, start some healthy eating habits, and listen to your body more. You may have heard mom telling you this a thousand times before, and have failed to heed it, but health is truly our greatest wealth. I came across this saying by Steve Jobs today that might give you some sort of motivation: “When a person goes into the operating room, he will realize that there is one book that he has yet to finish reading – ‘Book of Healthy Life’”. Fitness is a prerequisite for happiness, and if it’s absent, you can’t reach your personal best in anything. Just remember: having access to good education and being able to travel places are valuable opportunities you have been given. Hence, it’s essential that you prepare yourself and get the most out of this experience.
- Learn how to organize and make plans. Before you could start rambling on how you’re the spontaneous type and making plans is just not your thing, my friend, you don’t have that plenty of time. Making plans, short-term or long-term, organizing your daily tasks, and even keeping your room tidy are the essence, not something you can choose to do or not. It’s always good to enjoy the moment, but seriously, the worst thing to have when you leave Europe is regrets. Keep practicing and don’t let yourself stagnate.
- Keep reminding yourself that you are responsible for all your actions, then assess the situation carefully to make good decisions. Being in high school and living with parents may make you forget sometimes, however, you should be able to handle everything on your own when you live alone, abroad. From now on, you will be making all the choices, trivial or major. And whenever things go wrong, you have no one to blame but yourself. At school and at home, you may have several chances to waste, but this doesn’t apply when you’re at work or somewhere out there. Your actions might affect not only yourself, but also people around you. Does this sound scary? No worries, you will soon get used to it – you can do it.
- Learn to be independent. Sometimes, there will be no one there to listen to your problems and share them with you. They have had enough managing their own lives! Self-reliance will help you during emotional instabilities; it may also boost your self-esteem and help you attain belief in your choices, abilities, and actions.
- It’s never bad to learn a bit about budgeting. You’re not yet financially independent, so knowing your priorities is extremely important. Following spending plans, you will always have enough money for necessities and what’s important to you.
Finally yet importantly, stop doubting yourself and go for it. I know how terrifying it is to move beyond the familiar and live a life entirely different from the one you have been living for 18 years, but trust me, it’s totally worth it. The journey ahead of you will sure be challenging, yet the most rewarding you have ever started. Being exposed to unfamiliar things isn’t as bad as you think – it pushes your built-in abilities to their limits and shows how capable you are. You will soon find yourself in your growth zone, where you generate new skills. Moments of discouragement are inevitable, but once you overcome them to realize that they can’t pull you down, you can grow both personally and as a young professional.
If you want to do something, go for it; join the student associations, apply for the honors programs, try that strange-looking dish, talk to that friend, attend that party, travel 8 hours by bus to get to the place you want to visit, dance in the snow and try making the perfect snow angels. You will meet exciting new people and go to places that you have only seen through screens, so never miss the opportunities to make memories.
Your Future Self