In many ways, I envy you. You are so young. You have so much to look forward to. You are entering one of the best phases in life.
And yet, I worry about you. You are so young. You have so much to learn. You are entering a defining phase in life.
I was in your shoes 12 years ago, and the last thing I wanted was some 30 year old giving me advice. But, that’s exactly what I’m about to do… (because I’ll sleep better at night knowing I tried to help you.)
So here it goes, my advice for college freshmen:
1. It's okay to change your mind. Change your major. Dump your boyfriend. Set a new course. Now is the time to do it!
2. Don't get caught up in the petty behavior that seems to follow groups of girls. Judging, gossiping, backstabbing - the sooner you quit doing those things, the better friends you’ll have and the happier you’ll be.
3. Surround yourself by people you want to be like. If you see yourself taking on attitudes or habits or behaviors that remind you of someone else, ask yourself if that’s who you want to be.
4. Others will make mistakes. Forgive them. Others have faults. Love them anyway. It’s no fun being mad all the time.
5. You have faults. Love yourself anyway. You will make mistakes. Forgive yourself. You will make more mistakes drunk than sober. Remember that.
6. Find an older woman you can identify with, and listen to her advice. Your boss, your coach, your advisor…she’s been there and can be your tour guide. In every phase of my life, I’ve had amazing women show me the way, and I am so thankful for that.
7. Don’t aim for perfection. Perfection is psychotic. Decide what’s important to you and do your best at those things. Decide what’s not important to you, and lower your expectations in those areas.
8. Learn how to use tools. Google how to fix your washing machine. Change your own oil. You don’t need a man to do things for you.
9. Parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever have. Think hard about whether or not you want to be a parent, and if you do, take that into consideration when you choose a career path. Because when you have a full-time, stressful job, and your children are a full-time, stressful job…well, it’s a lot to handle.
10. Do things that are good for your soul, not your ego. When you feel overwhelmed or overcommitted, make your soul a priority.
I could go on and on, and the lessons you learn on your own will be endless. When you emerge from this place four years from now, you will be a better woman. You will have had your share of struggles and joys and you will be ready for the rest of your life’s journey.
Carpe diem, my friends!
*Photo courtesy From my Front Porch.*