A Letter to my Freshman Self
As graduation nears, a multitude of feelings often comes about. Some are excited for what is coming next. Some are fearful to let go of college. Some feel a little lost, and others feel that they have found themselves during their collegiate career. Some feel a mixture of all of these things. In any case, commencement can be a good opportunity for reflection. Below is a letter that Teresa Suits, class of 2017, wrote to her freshman self.
Dear freshman Teresa,
I am proud of the woman you are today, and the adversity you have overcome to reach where you are. In a few days you will graduate from the University of Florida, an accomplishment that you think will never come. Let me assure you, the next three and a half years will fly by much faster than you think. Little by little your degree audit will turn from red to black as you complete classes, and adulthood will quickly approach. It’s cheesy to say, but I wish I could go back and tell you a few things…
First and foremost, stop planning your life so strictly, and go live it. I hate to break it to you, but you’re not going to law school immediately after graduation… I know, a huge dent in your perfect plan. Do you even know the reasoning behind wanting to go to law school? Do you actually want to be a lawyer or do you want to please everyone else? Stop limiting yourself to opportunities that complement the life you think you have to have. It’s great to have a plan, but not if it makes you miss out on everything else. Live a little, take a chance, and most importantly, have faith in yourself. I am proof that straying from your plan will not mean the end of the world; instead, you’ll gain a new one, a more exciting one, filled with opportunity and diversity,
Instead of having faith in security, have faith in your ability to succeed after failure, because it is inevitable at some point. You will fail a test, fail a paper, maybe even fail in a friendship at times, but this is all part of life. The lessons you learn in each individual failure will mold you into a better and more accepting person. Pick yourself up, and always try again.
Take advantage of all of the opportunities while at UF. Don’t stray from one because it is different or new. Embrace these moments because the things that scare you the most turn out to be the most rewarding.
Most importantly, cherish every moment you spend at UF, especially the little ones. Remember the rush you feel when screaming “Go Gators” at a football game, and the sense of belonging when singing “We Are The Boys”. Remember the time you ran out of gas on your scooter in the pouring down rain (pro tip: ALWAYS check the gas tank), and the freshman struggle of not having a car. Remember the moments when people were there to support you during your darkest times, they’ll turn out to be your closest and most loyal friends. Remember all of these things and more because you will appreciate them more than you can imagine in the near future.
In a way, I am appreciative that you will never read this. If you could, maybe I wouldn’t have learned all of these important lessons. Maybe I wouldn’t appreciate the little things in life as much as I do now. Maybe I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if you hadn’t learned the hard way. I am thankful for my time at UF, and even more thankful for the memories and friendships I will take with me. Congrats on graduating from the greatest university. We did it.