Sunday, October 15, 2017

An Open Letter to My 18-Year-Old-Self

Dear Jane,

You have entered into a new chapter in your life, college; slowly shifting away from the comfort and familiarity of family. I know you are struggling. In the first few months, there will be tears and phone calls back home. Living alone for the first time can be liberating and scary. But, you are a lot stronger than I expected. Self-reliance will shape you into the person you are today, already seen and felt on the surface by others.

You're going to encounter students who are academically smarter than you. You won't always be on top. There will be moments when you feel like drowning in the ocean of failed expectations. Don't be discouraged, young lady. You are on a path of learning. Summon up enough passion and motivation to keep going. While your professor says he has never seen a worst engineering lettering, it's normal to feel upset but try to listen. Constructive criticism is delivered with intent to improve, not to embarrass. Don't let his negative feedback sting you. Instead, translate it as an advantage in your future career. College takes time to get used to before you can truly enjoy it. So, march to the beat of your own drum and just bask in the journey.

College is the perfect opportunity to explore your first taste of independence. Learn to relaxdon't forget to have fun! Go clubbing, join school outings or watch a movie in between classes. However, the most important thing would be a diploma at the end. It's possible to achieve that balance by setting some ground rules on your priorities. Learn to say "no" when you have to stay in and finish a lab report. It won't really matter if you missed a party, trust me.

You're going to learn a few tough lessons on friendships. Here's a realitysome will abruptly come to an end. Foster the ones who only consistently keep in touch with you. Resist the urge to continue your social life as if you were still in high school. You need to open up yourself more to others and accept that life is moving forward. Acquaintances are not the same as friends. Don't feel obligated to surround yourself with too many of them. It's okay to be alone sometimes. Eventually, you will form strong friendships with quite a few people that will stand the test of time and distance.

You're only 18 but I wish I could spare you the heartaches. A tattered heart is the purest form of growth so learn to let go of anger. Remember that light shines in through the cracks. Your value doesn't diminish based on someone's inability to recognize it. Above all, you deserve to be loved, respected and cherished. Not to be a spoiler but true love already presented itself to you last year. You met a guy on the first day of Chemistry Lab. He quickly dashed his way to sit right beside you by the window. Entire conversations were a bit hazy but there's a specific question that wouldn't ever slipped your mind, "Do you ride camels for transportation in Abu Dhabi?" You giggled at him in response for being sillycompletely clueless that this guy right in front of you is the one you're about to marry over a decade later.

P.S. Say "yes" when he asks you out on a date. He's worth it.

Your present self


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