Two nights ago I called my mother on the phone. This is relatively normal thing for me to do, as I try to call/Skype my mum at least once a week. Since moving away from home, I miss her companionship, her wisdom and sometimes (although I hate admitting it) – her telling me what to do and when to do it. It was during this phone call where I found myself expressing how silly I had been to believe I had my whole life planned out at the beginning of university. I was seventeen and to be perfectly honest, a little too self-righteous for my own good.
I spent the next fifteen woefully confessing to my mother all the visions of my future I had imagined through my rose-coloured glasses – and how nothing was like I thought it to be.
Reflecting on this conversation, made me wonder: had my overly cinematized ideas of “my big move to the city” ruined the beautiful (if not extremely difficult) adventure I was experiencing now? Was it really necessary to hold onto my “idea” of what university should have been and constantly compare it against what it actually is? Were my seventeen year old dreams ruining my twenty year old life?
Determined to finally rid myself of rom com inspired ideals of young adult life, I have decided to write a letter to seventeen year old me.
Hello, it’s me.*
*This is an Adele reference you won’t get for another 2 years, but you and the rest of the world will absolutely love it.
So you just got accepted to U of T! I guess that wretched semester of calculus paid off, huh? You should be proud of yourself, you have worked really hard to get here.
I want you to know that while it is super exciting that university is coming up, you shouldn’t spend the next six months of your life obsessing over every little detail of what this “new chapter” will be like. I’m here to tell you that no matter how much you prepare, university is going to throw some curve balls at you. This is okay news, because even though U of T is going to be the toughest thing you have conquered thus far – you will conquer it. You are smart and you can do this; it’s just going to take a lot more effort and most likely less hours of sleep/night than high school did.
But here’s the thing. It will be fun, just in a different way than you originally imagined. Here are some things to know:
-> Let’s talk GPA. Try your best and pick classes that you will enjoy; trust me/future you?, if you don’t like what you are reading you aren’t going to read it, so pick subjects that interest you. This is the secret to an amazing GPA. Hint: You love abnormal psych.
-> Put yourself out there. I know that it is hard to go out and meet new people, but you know what? It’s hard for everyone and attending events are going to make your first year a memorable one – so sign up for cool events that come your way!
-> Your first apartment is not going to be perfect. It will be cute and you will make it your own, but don’t stress that it isn’t your dream place! You have lots of time and not enough money to find your picture-perfect apartment.
-> It isn’t going to be all smooth sailing. You will have some hard days, but you have amazing people in your life who will be there for you.
-> Learn to take the darn streetcar in September, Madeline. Yes, it is a little scary and confusing but if you don’t, I PROMISE you that you will endure an entire winter of long walks in the cold.
-> Save money early! The poor student stereotype is and will be you. No need to worry though, because budgeting isn’t that hard and you’re actually pretty good at decorating/cooking/clothing yourself on a budget.
-> Don’t worry about making friends. The friends you meet in university will not be friends, they will be family and you will love them dearly.
-> Before you move away, eat at home as much as possible. You will miss family dinners more than you realize. You will also miss free laundry. Take advantage of that while you can.
Most of all, begin university with an open mind. It will be a time of self-actualization, and slowly you will start to become the person you always aspired to be. Be patient. Be strong and be hopeful.
Enjoy U of T. I know you will. – M
If you could write a letter to yourself pre-university, what would you say? Comment below!