After visiting Georgetown last week, I had been seriously thinking about what I would tell myself as a freshman if I were to write her a letter. I wish I could tell her all the spoiler alerts, but I know she wouldn’t believe it. (And I think that those amazing things should still remain surprises!) But I wish I could go back in time and give myself a little pep talk for those confusing and the difficult times. I actually wish my 37-year-old self could send me a letter or two right now, too. All in due time, I’m sure.
You’re just about done with packing the last box to bring to college. (You may want to go back through and take out about half the clothes… You won’t need as much as you think!) As you packed those boxes, you grappled with the fear of leaving behind what you know and the excitement of walking into something completely unknown.
Your idea of what college is going to be like isn’t quite on the mark and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Those dreams you have of excelling in classes, bonding with friends in your dorm, and finding yourself over the four years will happen… but not quite in the way you expect. There will also be heartache, and stress, and sadness. You will feel lost as you navigate through life. But you will find yourself! At the end of the four years, you will barely recognize yourself. College won’t be the catalyst for the transformation; instead, your choices and blind faith in yourself will change you for the better.
You will embrace the gray area, have your heart played with by wrong guys (just turn your phone off after midnight), struggle and ultimately succeed in tough classes, learn so much from your classmates, and fail. Oh, will you fail.
You will fail in a way you think you can’t recover from without realizing that it’s the failures that turn into the greatest lessons and the greatest opportunities. Lean into the failure, learn from the failure, and rise from the failure. Even when you don’t believe you can, you will because up is the only way out when you’re at the bottom.
Keep calling mom, write more, read everything you can get your hands on. Believe in yourself, stand up for others. Follow your heart.
You’re at the end of the security of childhood, but Carly, you are at the very beginning of the ultimate adventure.