AN OPEN LETTER TO MY FELLOW COLLEGE FRESHMEN
by Presley Connor
Each year on my birthday, my dad takes to Facebook to give me an annual list of reminders and life advice. This year’s post, in particular, was titled “18 Things to Know on Your 18th Birthday.” As I read his post on my big day, I tried to digest and understand each tidbit of his guidance. When I got to the very last note, #18, I read it and immediately knew that it was something to live by. It read:
“Sometimes you won’t get an "A" on a test even though it was in your best subject. Sometimes you won’t get the job even though you thought you nailed the interview. Let it be clear that yes, there are times when you will fail. But you must remember that as long as you get up the next morning, put on your favorite outfit and refuse to look back, you will NEVER be a failure.”
It is highly unlikely that you are reading this because it’s your 18th birthday, but even so, this advice still very much applies. Whether you are in high school, in the midst of your college decision process, beginning your post-secondary education journey, or an established student of a university, there is something we can all take away from my dad’s advice.
Sometimes you’ll feel like your best isn’t good enough, BUT...
Remember, your “best” may not be the same as someone else’s. You won’t always have the best grades in the class, but as long as you continue to strive for your own personal best, without comparing it to everyone else’s, you will succeed! Don’t get me wrong, you should always put in the effort to be better than you were yesterday but understand that as long as you are truly giving 100%, you are good enough.
Embrace the clichés.
These pieces of advice are cliché for a reason: they’re important to remember!
- Introduce yourself. College is full of interesting characters, and you’ll be living with a lot of them for the next four years. Get to know them!
- Wear a fashionable outfit. I know, it sounds silly. But seriously, if you look good, you feel good! There’s nothing wrong with that!
- Clean your microwave. Just do it. Seriously.
- Call your mom or dad. They miss you.
- Drive Safe. Traffic crashes are the #1 cause of death for teens and young adults, and the worst part is that many of these deaths are preventable. Buckle up, put the phone down, and drive safe!
- It’s usually not about you. Unfortunately, the drama doesn’t stop in high school. There will always be critics, gossip, and someone who doesn’t want you to succeed. Don’t let the naysayers consume you, because usually, it has nothing to do with you. Everyone struggles with insecurities, and that’s okay. Don’t take it personally when someone releases their steam on you. Just keep doing you!
Say no. Don’t look back.
If you’re anything like me, you want to be involved in every club, project, and organization on campus. However, it’s important to limit yourself and find a focus. It’s much better to give your all to one or two passions than to juggle six or seven activities and not be fully committed. It’s okay to say “no.” Don’t look back and wonder “what if?” or “why didn’t I?” Only participate in extracurricular clubs and activities that will benefit you in the long run and keep pressing forward.
Failure is not a reason to quit.
You’ve heard it time and time again, and it’s pretty self-explanatory. No matter what you’re facing or how big of a mistake you make, remember you get another chance to try again tomorrow. Don’t be consumed by failure, use it as motivation to improve.
College is hard, but it’s also what you make it. Embrace the chaos, study sessions, and late-night fast food runs because it doesn’t last forever. There will be good days, and there will be bad but remember it’s only one day out of many. Wake up tomorrow and try again! To sum it up best, I leave you with a poem from one of my favorite motivational speakers, Brad Montague:
“No matter how today went... Whatever might be your mood... Before closing your eyes for bed, Shout to the world... TO BE CONTINUED!”