Friday, June 23, 2017

Letter to My College Self




Dear College Amanda and all those heading to college at the end of summer,

It's been five years since you graduated undergrad and a full year now away from graduate school.  I have had some time to reflect on those times.  I have learned many lessons along the way.  While I don't regret anything because I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, there are definitely some things that I learned and wish I would have done differently.

Create a budget & stick to it.  Or better yet save money in an account that you block access from.  Paying off loans is no fun.  Plus once you graduate your car is going to break and you will have to buy a new one so add another monthly payment.  Rent anywhere else besides your college town is crazy expensive. Have fun but be mindful and disciplined with your money. I think this past year was the year that it really clicked for me, but I wish it were 7 years ago!

Go out with your friends.  Taco Tuesday.  Thursday night events.  Saturday afternoon adventures and tailgates.  Practice good time management and spend some daytime in the library to get your work done.  This is the time in your life that you will be closest to people.  Don't skip being around them, say yes to things with people.  The moments with friends will become your most cherished memories.

Learn to meal plan. Fast food is not your friend.  Prep food with some lovely fresh and healthy ingredients, your body will thank you.

Do what makes you happy. This lesson is the one I really wish I would have taken more advantage of.  I had a weird complex that I built up in college that revolved around other people and what they thought.  It's a difficult thing to break. I am still finding myself and what I love but I wish I would have jumped at more opportunities that my college campus offered that peaked my interest. Who knows if you try something that makes you happy and go alone you might meet some really great friends.

Be open. This is kind of a continuation of the previous.  Colleges are constantly having events and opportunities.  Go. Try something new.  Don't judge before you try.  These years are so formative, so be open to learning new things and trying something different.

Don't cling to people who don't bring positivity to your life.  I spent a lot of time on people who didn't serve me well.  I kept trying to make things work in various friendships and relationships and unfortunately suffered a lot from it.  I lost big pieces of myself in other people.  You will always find new people so don't be afraid to walk away from something that is bringing you down.

Go to church.  Better yet get involved with a campus Christian group.  Jesus is number one. Spend time with Him & like minded people.  Those will be the true friendships.

Journal. Writing is the one way that you truly figure out what you are thinking and feeling.  Invest in yourself.  Go to a fun coffee shop, bring your journal, sip a latte and reflect on this once in a life time experience.

Ask questions. This is your time to learn.  Don't be afraid to admit that you don't know something.  Try out various jobs and internships.  Learn learn learn and soak it all up.

Explore where you live.  Your college town is so much more than your campus.  There are actually people that live and work there year round.  They matter too.  Support local.  Learn about the towns history & people.  You will miss that life when you are gone.

Choose your girlfriends over that boy. Seriously.  He isn't worth it.  If you don't think you are good enough to ever find someone; stop that negative self talk right now!  You will find a fantastic guy.  BUT first you need to love yourself and spend time with your girls.  Boys will always come and go but if you choose them over your friends slowly the most cherished girlfriends will fade too.

Make sense of money. Do your research. Set some life and financial goals.  Remind yourself of those financial goals often, especially when debating spending some cash on something silly.  Invest in quality and your future.  Check out Earnest for refinancing student loan options while you are at it. Because wouldn't you rather have an extra 500 dollars in your pocket instead of paying off loans for the next 15 years of your life?

Make the most of it. College is seriously unlike anything else. It's difficult and challenging sure but it's also so much fun.  Be brave. Take risks.  Be present and enjoy this special time in your life.

What would you tell your college self?

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