Do you ever wonder what you’ll be doing 5 years from now? Will you be married, will you have gone to college, and will you have ended up in a career that you enjoy? Most of us can’t help but think about how things will be years down the road and wonder if we will make the right decisions along the way. You know the old saying, “If I knew then what I know now”? Well, this blog imagines what advice you might find your future self, giving to your current high school senior self…
I’m writing to you from five years in the future. I wanted you to know that life has been good to you: You graduated from high school, entered college, and completed your degree just one short year ago. You have a career now and are feeling pretty fortunate about the direction in which your life is headed. College was a wonderful time in your life! There were many lessons you learned along the way: some not so easy, and others the result of your diligent preparation and efforts.
The main reason I’m writing this letter is to reassure you and stress the things you will need to pay particular attention to when you enter college – all information I wish someone had shared with me ahead of time!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for advice: You will be a bit nervous to approach your professors, advisors, tutors, and college support staff for the first month or two of your freshman year. However, you will quickly figure out that they’re not scary people at all and are there to help you be successful. Although you hesitate to ask Mom and Dad for advice, they love being your support system and you know they always give you their honest opinion. Just remember that they’re the voice of reason, so continue to talk to them!
- You are the sum total of the five people you hang around the most: You will meet some amazing people and make lasting friendships throughout your college years. You may not always give people a chance or have an open mind at first, but once you let your guard down a bit, you will find that there are some pretty awesome people in this world! Also, make sure to always hold onto your values and surround yourself with people who uplift you.
- Take advantage of the school’s study abroad program: At first, you may be afraid to broaden your horizons and might feel apprehensive about traveling to another country. However, after you do the research, you will realize that studying abroad is a great opportunity, and that your sophomore or junior year of college would be an ideal time to embark on this adventure. You’ll sign up and meet new people from your current college with whom you will travel and learn about different cultures. This will be one of the best experiences you will have during your college years, and you’ll find that it’s a great way to travel inexpensively!
- Do an internship(s) prior to your senior year in college: If you don’t begin planning early, this one will be quite a bit of a life lesson for you. DON’T wait until the last minute to schedule internships! Fortunately, hearing your friends talk about their upcoming internships will make you apply for them, too. Internships are a great way to gain experience in your chosen profession and possibly make some contacts for future employment, you should make plans early in your time at college to schedule an appointment to meet with your academic advisor.
- Begin searching for jobs in the fall of your senior year of college: “Don’t wait” is the resounding theme here!! The job market is a fierce one, and you’ll quickly find that graduating from college doesn’t automatically guarantee you employment. You already know that it will take some searching, advisor meetings, and many applications and interviews before you find the right fit, so remember to put in the time and effort to do so!
So, past self, when you’re feeling overwhelmed – because you will – hang on tight and stay the course! You have many great people who will support you and see you through the college process. My final bit of advice for you is to ask questions, set goals, stay organized, and advocate for yourself. You will get out of college what you put into it…but don’t forget to enjoy the journey!
Your Future Self