Hello, friends. Remember my post last year about my little sister’s journey to find the right university for her? Well, she found it! Here’s part two of my open letter to her.
You’ve been at university for about two weeks now, and already you seem to be in your element. You came home for my birthday last weekend bubbling over with stories about your classes, your roommates, your new life. It makes me so happy to see you living your dream, and doing so well already (despite the Fresher’s flu).
All I have to offer you now is one last hand-me-down. It is only small, but it is everything I have come to know. May it keep you safe and feed you well.
1. Everyone experiences impostor syndrome, I promise. Even the people who claim that they haven’t, will. When it creeps into your thoughts that you don’t actually deserve what you’ve earned, remember that people do not arrive anywhere by accident. You built this life with your own two hands. You battled your obstacles and won. You got this far by being nobody but yourself, and for that you should be proud.
2. There is a lot to be said for asking for help. Be it academic, social, emotional, financial- there is almost always someone who can ease your burden or answer your questions. In your case, I’m a good place to start. The student services are possibly even better.
3. You will not always automatically like the people around you. University exposes us to relationships with people we might not have chosen, with whom we may have nothing in common, who challenge us to think differently. They are a gift. They have much to teach you. Remember that to them, you are probably strange and unfamiliar in some ways too. That is your gift. You have much to teach them.
4. Netflix and social media will eat up more of your time than it should. Schedule your procrastination. Do your homework before or after watching Stranger Things (and then discuss it with your siblings who have already finished it).
5. When there’s one pair of clean socks/pants left, it’s time to do laundry.
6. Do your laundry. Or, even better, bring it home and I’ll do it for you.
7. Get involved. This might seem kind of hypocritical coming from me, the family introvert/hermit, but do it anyway. Becoming part of Team Awesome was the best thing I’ve done during my years at uni: follow your passions until they lead you to a community of like-minded people on campus.
8. Sit at a desk. I tell myself all the time that I can study sitting on my bed, on the couch, in a comfy chair at the library. It’s not true. Something about sitting at a desk makes me so much more productive, keeps me focused, and gets stuff done. Also, good posture is a thing!
9. Profs want you to go to their office hours. I had a prof this year invite me to office hours just for a chat about literature, and for a catch up. Getting help, clarification, and building a relationship with the people who may someday write your references for Masters programs, scholarships, etc. can never be a bad thing.
10. Enjoy it. I’m still having a hard time reconciling with myself that I’m no longer 17. Uni goes past quicker than I thought it would, and I wish that I could go back to first and second year and do everything differently: mostly by creating space for myself to enjoy this period of my life. I’m there now, and I hope it doesn’t take you as long as it took me to get here.
I miss you; I love you; I’m so proud of you always and no matter what.
Your dorky big sister,