Advice for an 18 year old

I live in a college town… no, not the college town I went to school in, but a very similar, albeit smaller, town. This time of year brings hoards of students back into town. New students, old students, and students who are just along for the ride. They are all back and I wish I could be with them.

I’m not sure what it was about school that I loved so much. The hardest days of my life took place during those 5 years (I’m sure I’ll have other hard days in the future). You’d think I’d be done with it and want to put it all behind me. My college days didn’t even include crafting or gardening. How on earth did I survive and why on earth do I miss them? I miss band, I miss my friends, I miss the campus life, I miss my dad sending me a rent check once a month for my apartment, I miss staying up until 2 in the morning watching Center Stage with Barbara and Cynthia only to end the night with that fateful cup and pair of pants (you two know what I’m talking about). It was fun, it was sad, I grew up a lot and I learned a lot. College was important.

In the style of a couple of those friends from school and fellow bloggers (For Once in My Life and So Mellifluous) I bring you a note that I wish I could read to my 18 year old self.

Dear Erin of 9 years ago:

Welcome to the first “real” day at UT. I’m sorry the past two weeks have sucked for you. Trust me when I say be glad that you didn’t make LHB this year, you wouldn’t have liked your section leader and the timing is not right for you. You’ll go on to show the world at PASIC next year that you make a damn fine section leader when your cymbal section brings home 1st place at the drumline floor competition. Good things come to those who wait. Anyways, your grades will rock and your bassooning will be quite impressive because you don’t have to spend your time on the football field this fall.

If you could only see the road ahead of you right now, I’m sure you’d be terrified. Please know that everything that happens, is for the best. You’ll soon feel that UT isn’t the right place for you. Don’t stress about that thought – it’s not the right place for you right now. You need to go back home, you need to have accomplishments elsewhere to prove to yourself that you are just as amazing as you were in high school. But please, do well while you are here, because, believe it or not, you’ll find your self roaming this campus again when you decide that UT is the right place for you. Confused yet?

That’s right, you’ll come back to UT after spending a few semesters elsewhere. Hey, guess what? You’ll make the cymbal line. Guess what else? You’ll meet someone pretty nifty that will rock your world for a couple of years. Guess what else? You’ll make some amazing friends in the process. Those friends will still be with you after college, traveling with you, supporting you, and making… uh… inviting you to be in their wedding. See, people at UT aren’t so bad.

Just to warn you, not all is peaches and cream for you when you venture back to Austin. Once you meet that guy that will rock your world, you’ll discover that your high school crush is not for you. Please be clean when ending that. Do not draw it out. Tell him goodbye and cut off communications. You’ll wish you had when you are sitting at his funeral wishing things hadn’t ended like they had.

Also, just to warn you, that future guy that is going to rock your world will only do so for a couple of years. So don’t plan your life around him. Galveston, TX isn’t that great of a place anyways and you’ll start to see why you’re thankful he only rocked your world for a couple of years.

Do what your heart tells you to do. It will take you far. When it says go home, go home, when it says to call your mom, call her, when it says to sit in your bed and cry, for goodness sakes, sit in your bed and cry.

You’re just 18, the road is rocky and long, but it’s worth it. See you on the other side.

Love, your 27 year old self.

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7 thoughts on “Advice for an 18 year old

  1. Sunny says:

    If only we could go back and advise ourselves. Of course our 18 year old selves probably wouldn’t listen to us!

  2. Melodie Ann says:

    Yea! I’m so glad you did it too! Writing it seriously made me reminiscent of those great years (which of course included you!)

  3. christina says:

    YOU TOO! making me cry! this was lovely, thank you for sharing 🙂

  4. Dianna says:

    Are you trying to make me cry first thing in the morning…. 🙂

  5. what a lovely idea! *sigh* if only I knew then what I knew now!!!!

  6. Mooney ♥ says:

    I love this post! And I have to say, there are so many things I wish I had given myself more flexibility to do… meaning, I wish I had really walked away the first time I thought that the rock my socks guy was not the one… but I stayed for several more years, got married, then divorced before I could figure it all out…Though i’ve learned so much along the way, and I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for those steps of my life.xoxomy almost 28 year old self.♥Sometimes I feel like i’m just beginning to be that ‘me’ self again, and i’m loving getting to know her.

  7. idyll hands says:

    Janelle – I’m constantly finding my “me” self around every corner. It’s funny how much I change and how much I find myself. It keeps it fun.You are so right when you say that those things had to happen to get you where you are now. One tiny change in the past would have put me in a COMPLETELY different place than I am now and I love where I am now.

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