Dear Future Self,
I know you. You’re worried about the future.
What’s new? That’s what this letter is for. For future you to remember past you were scared too. Staring down my last semester I can’t help but think where I’m going after. The big unknown. Will I find a full-time job? Will I like it? Will I meet the love of my life in some cheesy meet-cute way? How is my family? I hope they’re happy. I’ll probably think about these questions a lot next year. Am I scared? Sure, but I know that everything works out eventually. Do you remember what it was like when you first started at UF? You were an anxious mess.
Cue to you hyperventilating and crying to your mom over a simple syllabus.
The city bus terrified you, the herd of students overwhelmed you and the campus felt like a rat maze. You felt alone, I get that. But you did it. It took a few weeks to get used to the environment, but now, look at you. You walk with confidence because you know where you’re going—no longer a freshie asking for directions. Syllabus week—psh, piece of cake. You’ve done so much that you never thought you would do—like taking 6 courses at once. Remember that? One year after being at UF, you got a plan in your head that you were going to dual major.
Once you have a plan in your head, it’s hard to convince you not to do it.
While dual enrolling at Santa Fe College, you had no idea what you were going to major in. You were just a high school kid taking college credit because your mom wanted you to. When your advisor said, “You’re graduating soon, so it’s time to start thinking about declaring a major.” You thought about it, then you said, “I think I want to major in Psychology.” Your advisor said you didn’t have the prerequisites for Psychology—you know, Statistics. I bet you’re laughing since later you found out Stats is a soul-sucking course.
Anyways… I’ll never forget your reaction to not being able to major in Psychology. Nonchalantly, you shrugged and said, “Oh, well then…hm…I guess I’ll do English?” Picking a major meant almost nothing to you. You didn’t think about how you were going to use your degree in the real world or where you were going after. You just chose a subject you enjoyed. You made the right decision, though.
At UF, you realized you had more opportunity and took it.
Fall 2018, you signed up for 6 classes to knock out those Psychology prerequisites. Intro to Statistics and Biology, all while tackling two English courses, Spanish and an internship. You worked your butt off to get accepted. An advisor even warned you how difficult it was to get into the program as a transfer, but you didn’t listen. You did what you were passionate about. You may not realize it at times, but you have ambition and drive and passion. Keep that Fall 2018 mentality with you forever. I’m proud of you for sticking to it.
New isn’t easy in the beginning.
Starting a new job, going to a new school or moving to a new city. That’s when your old pal Anxiety joins the conversation and convinces you that you won’t make it. Fear is your Kryptonite. A million “What If” questions stir up in your mind like a witches’ brew. What if I don’t like my job? What if I have issues with my co-workers? What if I don’t earn enough to live on my own? What if I never meet “the one”? What if I fail?
Breathe and reflect. Stop worrying about the future, even though I know it’s tough not to. If you learned anything from your past, it’s that you made it this far. You don’t have to be perfect. You can make mistakes, just learn from them. You can do anything you set your mind to—I think I proved that in this letter.
I want to tell you so much more, but I’ll leave you with this:
Thank your Mom daily for supporting you every step of the way. You both get on each other’s nerves, so don’t be stubborn. Swallow your pride and apologize when you’re wrong. She’s your rock and you wouldn’t be here without her. Tell your family you love them every day because you know there’s no guarantee of tomorrow. Live your life to the fullest. Don’t let fear control you. Don’t give in and don’t give up. Everything works out eventually. And remember: You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. Thanks, Winnie the Pooh for that insightful mantra.