Dear Graduated Self,
I really hope you made it in one piece. Since freshmen year, you have always been behind on schoolwork, relationships and aspirations. You were practically late to every 9 a.m. If it wasn’t for scales and participation, your grades would be unbelievably low. Each week you pondered dropping out, moving to Europe and living off the land.
People knew who you were, but you never really immersed yourself to grow in any relationships. Freshman year you were cooped in your little bubble, staying in your room playing piano and occasionally going to the gym to shoot some hoops. Honestly, you wondered at times if college was even a necessity and would you have been more successful taking a gap year.
But if you read this letter, it means you did it! I don’t know how you did it, but I’m sure glad you have that diploma to bring home to the fam. Mom was always supportive, and now at least dad won’t threaten to take you out every semester with bad grades again. I haven’t really thought of what changes you will have made over these few years.
Where do you want to live? Is music still the passion because if so, you have two options: New York City or L.A. But please, don’t sell yourself short ever. If you made it this far, I’m confident you can accomplish anything. Remember how J. Cole graduated magna cum laude and then became a global rap icon? Remember how that was your dream? I hope that dreams sticks. You may not get a 3.8 GPA, but if you get over 3.0, I’ll be proud of you. That shows the determination and strength you always. You just needed a little push.
I remember back in middle school, teachers used to love your writing and poetry. You would kill poetry slams throughout high school and grades were never an issue, but you always needed that one teacher or counselor to keep you striving for greatness. So far, you have an awesome academic advisor and some pretty sweet professors that want to see you be great. I know you didn’t let them down.
By now, I hope you find yourself having good friendships and a strong relationship. I know colleges have adopted the culture of hookups and short stints of commitment, but that never was your thing. Combined with all the focus on music, getting close to people seemed like too much work. But I really wish you would try to put more effort into building both relationships. They’re worth your time. You want people that will stick by you through thick and thin, and who will support you in all your future endeavors. Honestly, I will be low-key mad if you can’t name one to two people by graduation that will stick by you like that.
Hopefully I can see you at graduation truly happy. Life with regrets is never a truly fulfilled life. You better enjoy those late night steak and cheese subs at—but don’t put off working out until the next day (it’s always the next day). And I expect you to have gone to parties and hang outs with friends and not coop yourself in your dorm Friday nights.
I know I don’t stress it enough, but actually care about your education and take advantage of all the resources available. I hope you embraced the little moments about college and realize that the real world will be much different. You will have to worry about all the painful things in life: debts, bills, dissatisfied paychecks, deceiving co-workers. However I truly believe this is just the beginning of the joy to come: family, independence and chasing after your dreams.
Graduated self, I’m proud of what you accomplished, but this I see as a stepping-stone. The real fun comes next.
Christian Lewis 2019