Right now, it may feel like life can’t get any more challenging. I know it seems scary, overwhelming, desperately lonely and incredibly expensive. Going grocery shopping by yourself for your own kitchen in your first apartment seems like a monumental task. I know, I’ve been there (and I still called my mom so she could tell me again how to pick out a watermelon).

Right now, you’re just hoping with your whole heart that college isn’t as bad as high school was. Not that there weren’t good times, but for the most part, you’d rather chop your arm off than go through that again. Weirdly though, you desperately miss the friends you grew up with and how simple life seemed back then. You wonder how they’re doing and if you’ll really keep in touch like everyone promised (things will change a lot more than you can imagine).

I want you to know that you’ll get there. The ache in your heart that hits you like a cement truck when you dare to think about how much you miss your mom or your little brothers will get more manageable. In fact, you’ll go home to visit and miss school so much you may cry then, too. You’ll find friends who lift your very soul, classes that make your heart burst with excitement, and an apartment that you can truly call home. There will be tough times and many bad roommates of course, but eventually the absence of your siblings bouncing basketballs in the yard won’t feel so cripplingly silent anymore, because your home will be filled with the laughter, tears, bad cooking, and most importantly the love of your newest, and dearest friends. I wish I could calm your heart and show you the wonderful times you’ll have with them; long drives, hours of talking, endless game nights, a criminal amount of pizza, and the sweetest sense of mutual understanding you’ve ever experienced.

Now that I’m on the other side of the four years that once seemed like it would take a lifetime, I’m again facing the changes that inevitably have come. A move across the country, still hundreds of miles away from any family and additionally, nowhere near the family of friends I have created. It feels strangely similar to when I was 17 and leaving home, except this time I’m 22 and leaving home. Not the home of my parents, but the home and the family I’ve chosen for myself… my dearest Apt #3. Grocery shopping no longer terrifies me, but willingly moving away from all I’ve come to adore overflows the space where the fear of picking the wrong vegetables or changing a tire by myself once stood. All I know is that if this next adventure turns out anything like how college turned out to be, I have nothing to be afraid of.

So, to my freshman self I say: Take heart, the best is yet to come.


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