Ever see those postcards when you take a trip somewhere? Jot down a quick blurb and send it to someone you are thinking of back home or somewhere. I’ve personally never traveled anywhere that far, but I understand the concept. I want to write one of those to myself right before graduating high school. I know how scared and confused she was about going to college and taking the next step in her life. I know how many hard decisions she had to make.
I really wish you were here so you could see that I am graduating college like we planned. I have incredible friends that fit the exact brand of crazy we are, and that girl you love? Yeah, she’s still here and continuing to inspire you with her writing and encouraging every decision and step you decide to take.
I also want to confess something. That whole big “college plan” we had going? I messed that up big time. I will not be graduating in the major we started with. I will not have the same career we agreed on, and sad to say I did not grow out of being a nerd. I am also incredibly happy. We are graduating with an English major, a major we wanted all along but were too afraid to go for. Reading kept you happy all those years on the middle school playground and quiet bus rides. Why should it change now? I know you wanted to make everyone proud, but you don’t have to be miserable to do it. The medical field is an admirable pursuit, but it just isn’t for you. You nearly fainted upon seeing stitches, and you’re still horrible with numbers. I promise you that college would have been a much different experience if we hadn’t been doing something we loved. I’ve had to read thick novels late into the night and write and rewrite until words blurred together. I’ve had at least one kind of hilarious mental breakdown, but I have never once considered quitting.
It’s good to surround yourself with people, friends, and professors alike who remind you that dreams are attainable and worth pursuing. I wasn’t even going to apply to graduate school out of fear of rejection. It was a professor who sat down and talked to me, and together we figured out what I really feel passionate about. Those applications are on their way now. Let me tell you, the college you chose is filled with people who generally want to see you succeed.
I know sharing your work has always been a problem for you. That you never felt like anything you accomplished would be good enough. It is better to take a chance. Sometimes people will surprise you, and sometimes you’ll write something you are so proud of you can’t help but let others read it. Be proud of your hard work. Professors and fellow students alike have critiqued me harshly, and not every written piece has been received well, but I don’t regret ever taking the chance in the first place. Not everything I write will be perfect, but I will be glad I did it, and, more importantly, hopefully something we write will help change the world.
Like I mentioned earlier, not everything went smoothly. You’ve had to defend yourself to a lot of people, sometimes even to people who generally care about you. Your mother didn’t take it well in the beginning and still has some issues about it, but she has continued to support your choices and respect them as your own. That’s all you can ask for. Not everyone you met on campus was a good experience, and you may even have a few people who hate you. I don’t exactly talk to them anymore. All I can say is, apologize when you realize it’s your fault. Stand your ground when it isn’t, and surround yourself with people who make you laugh and with people you can have intense late night conversations with. All the advice I am trying to convey doesn’t matter because you will make mistakes and have a few rough patches. I’m going to continue making mistakes too. It’s being able to see that after all those mess-ups and some good points, I am still happy with whom I am.
I guess in the end, all I learned was to do what makes you happy and hope people will come around in the end. To defend yourself as best you can and realize your happiness matters. Above all to trust yourself and your gut judgment, which is easy advice but it’s a lot harder to follow. Wish you were here, and I’ll be thinking of you on graduation day.
Macey Lavoie is a senior graduating from Westfield State University, hoping all her risks were worth it. When she’s not having odd adventures with her crazy roommates, she is curled up with a book or jotting down writing ideas in her small notebook. Her goal is to take her love of writing and turn it into a full-blown career and to own her own personal library someday.