Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Looking Back // My Graduation Letter

While I was going through some things at my parents' house, I came across a letter I wrote my senior year of high school. During the last month of school, my English teacher had us write a letter to ourselves that she'd mail us a year later. It's funny how different things can turn out. I was so sure of my life path when I wrote that letter at 18, but almost everything changed. Today, I'm sharing that letter with you, as well as one I'd write to my college self now.

2010 LETTER

Dear me,

As of this very moment, almost a year ago as a senior, two weeks away from finishing high school forever, you were feeling a mixture of so many things.

On the one hand, you were so excited to begin this new part of your life in a new place with new people. You were ready to become all that you could be and experience completely new things. You were also ready to be put in a situation where you may have had to defend your faith in a different way to strengthen your Christianity even more.

But, you were also so scared. You were scared to move away from your parents for the first time. You were afraid to have to make new friends in such a new and stressful situation. You were afraid to test your relationship with Brian and see how truly strong it was. And you were afraid to fail. Having to learn things by yourself and for your grades to matter so much scared you. You were afraid that you wouldn't love biomed like you thought you would and may have to find something new.

But, you knew that through all of this nervousness would come amazingness. People always say that college is the best experience of their lives and you were so excited to start your life there. It was the beginning of the rest of your life and the first time truly experiencing living on your own and complete independency.

I hope now that you've had to defend your faith and that it's become so strong and that you've found a church or Christian club that helped you grow. I hope that you battled homesickness and being away from Mom, Dad, and Bethany for the first time well. I hope that you made lifelong friends with not only your roommates, but your sorority sisters and people in your classes. I hope that you and Brian are still in a committed relationship and are even more in love with each other now than you were at the end of your senior year. I hope that you handled the stress of your freshman year with maturity and maybe a few late nights. And I hope that you loved biomed like you thought you would because it sounds like the coolest major out there! And I hope you've changed. I hope you've embraced the new atmosphere and that you've challenged yourself academically, socially, and religiously. And I hope that your freshman year was everything that you hoped it would be, filled with lasting memories to share with your family and friends.

I truly hope that everything has gone amazing and that you're excited to come home for the summer, but also a little sad to leave your new home behind.

Congratulations on finishing your first year of college at UC Davis!

Love, You


WHAT I WOULD WRITE TO MYSELF NOW

Dear me,

Everything you thought was going to happen during your first year of college was wrong; and that's okay.

You really struggled during your college career, especially during the first two quarters of freshman year. You experienced homesickness like you never though possible. There were many days where you'd call mom crying about how much you hated being there. You even considered transferring schools to be closer to home. But don't worry - UC Davis became one of the best thing to happen to you.

You ended up hating biomedical engineering. After your first intro to biomed class, you decided to change your major to bio-mechanical engineering. You stuck it out for two years, only to ultimately decide it wasn't the path for you. It was a hard decision, but one you'll be so thankful you made when you first join the world of human resources.

You were really ill during four of the five years you were at Davis. So sick, that you had to take your second quarter off of school and go part-time during your junior year. You'll be confused and depressed, but don't worry - you get diagnosed. Although having a paralyzed stomach is hard, you'll manage it.

It was a lot harder to make friends than you thought. Although you joined Chi Omega, you didn't fully immerse yourself in it until your second year. You've always been picky with friends and this situation was no different. But it paid off. You now have five lifelong friends that, even cross-country, are always there for you.

Unfortunately, you and Brian don't make it. On February 11, your world was forever rocked when Brian decided he no longer wanted to be with you. It was a heartache that killed you for a long time. But it helped you learn what you needed. It forced you to rely on yourself more than you anticipated.

And your faith wasn't challenged in the way you thought it would be. You were sure you were going to have to defend it to people who didn't believe, but instead, God tested your faith in Him. You went through hell for a long time in college, between failing calculus, feeling lonely, finding your path, and learning you have a second chronic illness; but your faith changed. It became more of a need in your life. A need that has continued to grow year after year.

It's funny how things turn out. At 18, you were so sure you had it figured out. You would marry your high school sweetheart, become an engineer, and live your best life at college. But, things have a way of working out differently than you imagined.

Thankfully - you had an amazing five years. You made the best of friends, tried new things, went on vacations, found your true calling, studied abroad in Paris, strengthened your reliance on God, and ultimately made the decision to move across the country after graduation. UC Davis grew you into the person you always hoped you be. One of confidence, resilience, strength, and love.

I hope that you'll always look back on your time at UC Davis as one of the best times of your life; because trust me - it was.

Love,
You

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