On May 9th, I completed my coursework for my last semester of college and will graduate with a B.A. in Communications & Media Studies on May 16th. Between this looming date and the ample time I’ve had to sit with my thoughts while stuck at home (thanks, COVID-19!), my mind keeps wandering back to the person I was when I began my freshman year at Emmanuel College. For that reason, I decided to make my last college blog post a letter to my freshman year self:
Dear Freshman Year Victoria,
Where do I even begin? First of all, future you is doing just fine. You’re graduating and have a job lined up! You did your finals on your family room couch and you’re celebrating senior week with your parents because you’re graduating during a global pandemic, but I won’t get into that. You can cross that bridge when you reach it.
You know you don’t know everything about life, but trust me, you know even less than you think. You’re planning to study business management to get a job in Human Resources. You think the boyfriend you have right now is going to play a way bigger role in your life than he actually is. Both him and other people are going to do things that hurt you and that’s gonna suck. By your senior year, though, you’ll realize you played a damaging and toxic role in these situations too. You’re well-meaning, but you can definitely be entitled and let problems consume you when they shouldn’t. Working on personal accountability and self-awareness over the next four years (and beyond!) is one of the best things you will do, and they’re things you’re still working on now. Plus, problems that seem like the end of the world now will end up being a lot smaller when you look back a few years later.
That being said, I do wish I could come back and hug you on bad days. The nights you cried in bed and occasionally in your car on the side of the road. The days you felt too anxious to eat. The mornings you showed up to class feeling numb. I wish I could tell you that the things you face when you’re 18 and 19 aren’t the be-all end-all. That you aren’t a bad person for making a mistake or a bad feminist for seeing the wrong guy. That proving to others you’re in the right won’t make you feel better at the end of the day. You’ll face obstacles your other three years of college, but you’ll overcome those too.
Luckily, you live and go through everything your freshman year with two great roommates who make a messy forced triple feel like home. They become people you feel like you’ve known forever despite your many differences. You each go on to different interests and friend groups in later years, but whenever you see them it feels like no time has passed.
The group of best friends you’ll have when you graduate are all around you, but it will be a year or two until you fully come into each others’ orbits. You’re in a club with two of them. Another you got dinner with in a group. One you met in your residence hall lounge when she was coming back from a party and you were in your pajamas writing to a pen pal. They are going to give you unconditional love and encouragement and motivate you to be a better person every day. They’re the first people you want to talk to when something great or terrible happens. They make you think Carrie Bradshaw was onto something when she said friends are our soulmates more than men are.
I know you’re worried about holding on to friendships from high school. You grow apart from a lot of people, but it doesn’t hurt. You’re on different paths but still cheering each other on through social media and it’s always nice when you run into them during school breaks. You lose some bad friends that you wouldn’t walk away from on your own and it always turns out to be a blessing. Most importantly, you kept a lot of amazing friends. You still go on walks around your neighborhood with the best friends you’ve lived near for decades. You still go on long, adventurous shopping trips with the girl you met in the lunch line your freshman year of high school. The friend who went to school across the country? You still talk on the phone all the time and you even flew out to visit her! You love attending shows and dinners with the girls who danced by your side for years. You still see others a few times a year and it’s still just as fun. The important people are still around, and these relationships have survived the tests of time, distance and growth.
One of the things I’m most proud of you for when I look back is the way you ran headfirst into your college and city experience your freshman year. You wanted to try ever restaurant, join every club and seize every opportunity Boston had to offer. You volunteered, went to holiday celebrations, checked out events at stores and watched a Patriots parade. You went for everything you wanted to, from jobs to involvement on campus. Each time you tried something new and put yourself out there, you set the foundation for our college career.
With all of that taken into consideration, I want to tell you that you accomplished everything you wanted to. You wanted to become an RA and you were one for three years. You studied abroad in India! You went on two Alternative Spring Break trips. You wanted to be president of Her Campus at Emmanuel and you just wrapped up a successful year leading your chapter. You wanted to be a member of your school’s leadership society and you just presented your senior project after four years in the organization. You danced in a couple musicals and choreographed one! You wanted to do creative work in writing, marketing and social media and you FINALLY took the leap and changed your major to Communications halfway through your junior year. You held five different internships, started this blog and have been published in online publications. You’re currently making money doing freelance writing and social media work! In a month, you’re starting your year of service as a Marketing & Communications Specialist. I don’t say all of this to brag, I say this because I wish you knew you were capable of doing the things you secretly dreamed of so we could have gotten started a little earlier than we did. That being said, I wouldn’t change a thing if I could go back and I can clearly see how every step lead us where we needed to be (even failing stats).
Please just know that you are doing great and everything will be ok. Just stop wearing makeup to bed, eating junk for every meal and posting on your finsta any time you face a minor inconvenience and you’ll be fine. Also, remember to thank your family for everything they do and take time to call them! Each year you’ll realize how rare the level of love and support they give you is. I’d tell you to enjoy the next four years, but I already know that we did.
Senior Year Victoria