August 11, 2014

Open Letter to the Class of 2018

To the Class of 2018,

First of all, congratulations! You are done with high school, survived that last summer at home and are about to embark on the most incredible four years of your life. I can assure you the jealousy of the Class of 2014 is overflowing.

You're probably a little nervous, extremely excited and have already bought out Target for dorm decor. This is it. The end of living under your parents' roof. All of the movies and shows you've seen have given you dreams about college that are about to come true. You've spent countless hours trying to secure the best possible class schedule (my, oh my the days of ConnectCarolina), started packing your clothes and are spending the remaining days at home soaking up the last possible minutes with your high school friends. It's weird, that feeling of doors closing, times changing, and growing up. But guess what? This chapter may be ending, but the next one will knock your socks off.

Scared? That's OK. Excited? You should be. Prepared? Don't be. The uncertainty is what makes the adventure worth it. You're about to learn more about yourself in four years than you figured out in the past 17 or 18.  Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Trust your gut. College brings about so many new things. New friends, new experiences, bigger parties, harder classes and a lot of freedom. It's OK to go out on a Sunday, but drag your butt to class on Monday. If you miss a few, that's OK too. Be open to meeting new people. Odds are, most people are just as apprehensive about being in a new environment. These friendships you make will mean more to you than you could ever imagine. Embrace the norts and oversized t-shirt wardrobe - you'll have to dress in business attire the rest of your life.

Make time for your roommates. They will be your comfort when your homesick, your sidekicks for going out, the ones you call when you're in trouble, your future bridesmaids (or groomsmen) and your soul mates. Appreciate them for all its worth. Call home often, but don't run home every weekend. It's worth it to stay even when you're missing your childhood bed and the friends that make "staying in your hometown" seem fun. Trust me, those weekends at school, no matter how low-key or crazy, will hold a special place in your heart.

It's tough. Seriously, it's no walk in the park being a college student. You're having to study like crazy, balance friends and a social life, and you're parents may even begin to teach you a bit about money management. Professors are tough and A's require you to put in a lot of effort. Learning to balance class and friends is a challenge. Do what's best for YOU. Be selfish with your time. This is the ultimate chance to figure out who you are and what moves you. Find your passion.

Challenge yourself. Take a class outside of your comfort zone. Try a new club, or take on a leadership position. These experiences will mold you, show you what you do and don't like, and ultimately make you a better, more confident person.

Have no limits. Study abroad. Stay up late just to chat with sorority sisters - whether it be mindless
gossip or the deepest thoughts on life. Sing karaoke (I miss you He's Not, and your Blue Cups), go to Carolina Cup, slave over a cooler for a fraternity formal and tailgate your butt off for football games. Embrace every opportunity.

Eat Wendy's at 1 a.m. Go to the gym. Set up times to meet with your professors during office hours. Spend time soaking up those special spots on campus (I miss you lower quad in the fall and arboretum in the spring) - they are home now.

If there is ever a time for last minute decisions, spontaneous adventures and leaps of faith, this is it.

Before you know it, this year will be over. You won't believe how fast it went, and they fly by quicker each year. By this time next year, your undergraduate career will be halfway over. The responsibility, bills, reality... they only grow larger. Work hard, but play harder. Because in four years, it's over. And the world you knew at whatever school you attended will never be the same.

When that happens, we'll be here to grab a beer after work.

Sincerely,

The Class of 2014

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