This piece is part of the Letters to My First-Year Self series in which students (current or past) look back on their first year here at Rutgers and give advice to their former selves. We are looking for contributions to this series; so if you’d like to participate, please send your reflection to I Am Rutgers via the Contribute tab at the top of this site!
Smile. This is college. You’re at Rutgers!!!! It might not be exactly where you thought you were going to be but trust me it is exactly where you need to be. These next four years are going to be rough and might go by quickly so here are some things I need to let you know from experience. Trust me, I know you best.
First and foremost, slow down. No, you don’t need an internship right now. No, you’re not behind in your schedule or coursework. No, you don’t need to figure out what your major is and no one is going to murder you if you don’t pick the “right” one. Slow down. Breathe. This is the year where you should care about absolutely nothing…. except your GPA, don’t mess that up. But please calm down. I can’t stress enough how worrying about the future will only ruin your present. I will let you in on a little disappointing secret: all the things you think are of utmost importance right now really won’t matter by the end of sophomore year. Trust me.
You’re extremely confident this year, which is great, but you could use a little more self-love. I admire how much you love yourself but make sure you love yourself even when others don’t . Embrace your mistakes and imperfections. Also, I think deep, deep down you already know who you are and what you REALLY want to do. I know it takes all the courage you have to admit what it is but the sooner you are true to yourself, the better. Most of the decisions you are making now you are out of fear. You want to do it all, but if the clubs, jobs, and random responsibilities you take on have nothing to do with your dream then they are merely distractions. Again breathe and keep it simple. You have a bad habit of thinking you’re in control of everything. Lol. You are not. You try so hard to plan things accordingly but the harder you try the more out of place things are going to fall. It is ok if things don’t go your way. Trust me.
I love you. This is random but necessary. It is important for you to love yourself again through all your silly mistakes. It is important to love yourself even in your most uncertain moments. Lastly, trust me, trust yourself. Most of your turmoil during the next couple of years will come out of a lack of trust and belief in yourself. I swear you don’t know how powerful you are. You have trust issues (no drake pun intended). The one person you should always love, trust and count on is yourself. Even if you mess up, you should know that you tried your best.
Oh, and one awesome tip I’m just learning now is to always stay positive. You won’t believe how powerful gratitude and positivity is. Ugh, I wish I could tell you more but you’ll see what I mean. So smile, find the good in everything and trust yourself. Love ya!
Contributed by Mercedes Samuels