Letters

Arguably one of my favourite ways to write. Here are some hypothetical letters from me to you.

Dear First Years: It’s Going To Be Better Than Okay

Dear Freshers,

You are leaving home for possibly the first time, settling into dorm rooms in new cities and getting started in your first week of classes. I’ve been there, and I know it’s an overwhelming mix of excitement and nerves. I want to tell you a few things that may calm you down a little bit (hopefully).

Firstly, university (depending on your course) is easier than high school. You attend each class likely once a week, your assignments are few and far between and you have LOADS of on-campus resources to help you if you feel your marks aren’t where you’d like them to be. A majority of profs are super understanding (especially to first years) and if you need an extension because you have a lot due around the same time, or because you just need an extra day to hand in something of substance – just ask for it. Seriously, you don’t need a big excuse about how a family member is ill or some far off thing, you just need to ask. It’s insane how many profs will say yes without doctor’s notes or any questions asked. And if they say no, then they say no, that’s that.

Secondly, all the fear mongering your high school teachers did about university was (again mainly) false. You aren’t going to fail an assignment if you hand in something late. Yes, some profs are more strict than others, but I’m in my fourth year of schooling and most my profs have a 2-5% off for every day your assignment is late. Again, it varies, but make sure to read your syllabus’s carefully because the penalties may not be as bad as you think!

Thirdly, you’re going to have SO much fun! The friends I made in first year are still my best friends to this day. Today I said goodbye to my best friend Chloe, whom I met in res, as she’s off to London, England for her masters. It’s so important to get out of your comfort zone, attend events you maybe wouldn’t, and put yourself out there, you may end up meeting some of the most important people of your life.

And lastly. Everyone wants you to succeed. I know there will be days when you’ll be up late in your dorm, the weight of the world may be on your shoulders, you have more readings to do than you can keep up with, you feel like you’re missing time with your friends or haven’t called your parents recently enough. But I promise everyone around you understands or has been there themselves. Your profs want you to succeed, the departments on campus want you to succeed, your friends and family want you to succeed. You have so many people rooting for you so when you feel like you can no longer root for yourself, remember the little army of people you have behind you.

Wait, one more thing. I want you to know that it’s ok to mess up and that it’s ok to change your mind. My path through education has been a bumpy one, and although I’ve spent more time on it than maybe I would have liked, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I started in uni, switched and finished a program in college, and now I’m back at uni finishing my last year and I’m applying for more schooling this winter haha. It’s been a twisted path but it’s my path and it took me a while to figure out what I really wanted to do, but that’s ok, and it’s ok for you too. You may do badly, or even fail a course, but you can re-do it. If you switch your major, take a year off, go to college instead, anything – it’s all ok. Just remember that everyone will have a different path and to focus on you and only you.

So just remember: have fun, study hard, take advantage of all the opportunities your high school or home town may have not been able to offer you, keep in touch with your old friends but enjoy making new ones, don’t forget to call your mum every once in a while, and don’t worry about stupid things like the freshman 15, enjoy your time as a fresher because you only really get to do it once.

Love always,
Kate

Dear High School Kate: What I Know Now

Hello Kate,

Or I guess I should call you Katie, because that’s what you’re going by right now. This is you, at 20 years old. I wanted to share some “words of wisdom”, that I’ve gained in my 3 years since leaving home.

I know that you think New Liskeard sucks, but please try and appreciate the good that is under all that absolute crap. I know that your friends like to binge drink and flirt with your ex’s, I know that it will be hard to separate yourself from that, but once you do you’ll be left with two of the best friends that you have, and they’ll still be in your life today. But don’t forget to appreciate those other friends while you can. They’ve held you while you cried and made you laugh until you couldn’t breath. You have differences, but don’t forget to appreciate all your similarities while you can.

I know that sometimes it feels like you can’t relate to anyone in that town, but there are countless people who are in the exact same position as you. Waiting to get out to move to bigger cities and meet more open minded people. You’ll do it eventually. You’ll meet some of the most amazing people in your first year of Uni. They’ll be the type of friends you wanted all of high school. They play in a band, they try hard in school, they know how to have fun without puking at the end of the night. It’s a literal dream come true, hold out for that because you have so many good times coming.

Cherish the time you have with your family. You will never be a two minute walk from your grandma’s again, or a two second walk to your sisters bedroom. You won’t be able to sit down and eat with your family whenever you want, or lounge around with them watching tv. These daily activities you take for granted will be the things you miss the most when you’re off living on your own. I know you’re getting older, and sometimes you think your family doesn’t understand you, but I promise you they understand more than you give them credit for. You will go through so much shit in the next couple years, and they will be there for you more than anyone else. Laugh with your sister as much and as often as you can, because in your first year of Uni you’ll feel like something is missing inside, and it will take you a while, but it was laughter, the laughter you used to share with your sister every day when getting ready for school, or while hanging out together at night.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself. I cannot emphasize this enough. I know you’re sleeping on average 4-5 hours a night, going to school for 7 hours and working 4. Change this! Nothing is as important as sleep. Turn off your phone, shut your laptop, say good night to who ever you’re talking to, and GO TO SLEEP. School will not be as painful, work will go by quicker, your general attitude will be better. Please, just go to fucking sleep.

On the topic of help… there is NO shame in getting help. This is something you will struggle with to this day. Yes, you are most likely depressed, and that’s ok. Googling the symptoms of depression and trying to diagnose yourself isn’t enough. Crying every day isn’t normal. Your mum isn’t ignoring your crying, she just doesn’t know what to do. Talk to some one! Your school has a counsellor, there are help lines, your aunt is a mental health worker – just reach out. You are not crazy, you are not broken, you are not over reacting, you are not just emotional – you are perfectly normal, you’re just clinically sad and there are ways to feel better again. Time doesn’t have to be your only medicine.

Stay young little girl. I know that right now you’re going through so much shit that you don’t deserve to be going through. But at 20 years old, you feel 35, and I know that at 16 you are feeling so much older than you are already. I know that you’re being forced to deal with issues far beyond your years but are not yet old enough or mature enough to know how to properly deal with them. Here is my best advice: there is no shame in cutting people out of your life that don’t deserve to be there. Even if they’re blood. Actually, especially if they’re blood. You know who I’m talking about. They aren’t in your life now, they haven’t been for months. I know that at 16 you think they’re just going through something and that it’s something you can fix, but it’s not. They’re a grown up and you’re a child and none of this is your fault or your problem to fix. Your biggest worries should be school and how you’re going to spend your weekend, that’s it.

Before I go, here are my last few pieces of advice: save some money, hug your family more often, consider college, smile whenever possible, listen to more music, drive more carefully, get an iPhone instead of a blackberry, start exercising now, don’t give up soccer, take science classes, you don’t need to lose weight, love yourself endlessly – being confident isn’t cocky, start writing down your thoughts, bottle up your laughter, take more photos, be proud of the things you’re good at, STOP OVER THINKING EVERYTHING.

I promise that everything will be ok even when it feels like things couldn’t possibly turn around. When you feel like you can’t possibly make it through the day, remember that your track record for getting through a bad day is 100%, and that’s pretty damn good.

Love always,
20-year-old Kate (Katie)

 

Dear Future Husband: Some Things I Need You To Know

Hello Love,

I don’t know you yet, or perhaps I do. Maybe we’ve passed each other on the streets, or quickly exchanges glances on the bus. I feel like if I already met you I would know, you know?

I honestly can’t wait to meet you. I hope we have some typical rom-com meeting, like in a coffee shop, or on a blind date. Maybe not a blind date, I hear those don’t usually work out in real life. It’s funny to know that you’re out there, somewhere, living your life completely oblivious to the fact that one day we’ll be married. Maybe you’re dating someone right now, or maybe you’re going through a break-up and all you’re thinking is “fuck love, I’m never doing this again”, but you will, you’ll do it again with me. I hope for your sake that you’re happy and doing well.

I hope you’re taking care of yourself and enjoying life. If you’re in school, I hope that your classes are stimulating and that you’re on your way to a career that one day I’ll hear you ramble on about over and over. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait for that. I can’t wait to hear you passionately speak about the beautiful crown moulding you installed in a new house, or the code you finally figured out.

I already know how I’ll know you’re “the one”. I have this terrible habit, and if you married to me then I’m sure you’ve figured it out. I ask a lot of questions, endless questions really. I will constantly want to know what’s on your mind, what you did that day, how you’re feeling, what you think about the weather and so many more questions that it may surprise you how I’m actually able to preform daily activities with so much going on in my noggin. But you’re different from everyone else I’ve dated. You answer the questions. You tell me in length about how you were thinking about how the sun comes through our bedroom window at 4pm and how you can see the dust dancing in the sunlight. You’ll tell me everything you ate that day because you know I genuinely care. And if I’m lucky, maybe you’ll return some of the questions, and care about my answers too.

I know I won’t make a lot of money, and I’m ok if you don’t either. I’m currently in school for Event Management, and I really love it. I’m sure you’ll hear me talk about it a lot, especially how I’m an “Event Coordinator” and not a “party planner”, and how it ticks me off when people get it wrong haha.

Some days I get so eager to meet you. I just wish you could stumble into my life and sweep me off my feet. But I have to keep reminding myself that good things are worth waiting for and that there’s a reason I haven’t met you yet. I don’t really believe in a God that has a plan for me or anything like that, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Maybe right now we’re not at the place in our lives where we’d be compatible if we met. Maybe I’m not happy enough with myself yet, and maybe you just got fired and you’re focusing on your career right now. Whatever it may be, I think there’s a reason we haven’t been acquainted yet.

This is getting long, but I guess if we’re married you also know I never shut up. I’ll just finish by saying that I wish you well until the day we finally meet. I hope your life is full of delicious meals, good music and lovely sleeps. I look forward to experiencing so many things with you by my side.

I love you.

Sincerely,

Your wife, Kate xx