Thursday, November 07, 2013

Letter to a Young Friend Away at College For the First Time

Dear Friend,

How's it going? It looks (on Facebook) like you are having a good time, getting out there and experiencing life, meeting people. But I have to wonder... is it partly awful?

Not that college is awful. It can be fantastic, actually. Most of my very best friends in the world, the women I hold closest in my heart, are my friends from college. Sure there were ups and downs, but overall I loved my college experience and I'm grateful for it every day. Especially because of the wonderful women I came to know while I was there.

But here's the thing, I didn't like it at first, at all. Even though I met some of those people who are now family to me, we weren't instantly friends. And I was so, so homesick. But I felt like I wasn't supposed to be homesick and I did a lot (A LOT) of quiet crying into my pillow. And I went home at Thanksgiving and told my parents that maybe I wanted to transfer to a school closer to home which was attended by about 1/3 of my high school class. I might still feel overwhelmed, but at least I would know people.

I had had a fairly successful high school experience - I did well academically, I played sports, I was very involved in service activities, I had good friends. I was well-adjusted in lots of ways. I felt like everyone, especially me, expected the transition to college to be no big deal. Ha!

One thing I hadn't prepared for was the fact that I had trouble finding things to do which didn't involve partying. And partying really wasn't my thing. I also wasn't interested in Greek life. And, I don't know, part of me just didn't want to work so hard to make friends. It was exhausting.

Now, it is highly likely that your college experience isn't anything like mine and you're already well into your groove. But just in case you're not, here is my message for you:

It's okay if it takes a little while to find your people.

It felt like it took me forever to find mine, even though I actually met some of them on the very first day. Our souls just hadn't found each other yet, that part takes time.

You and I haven't spent time together in a while, but I still feel like I know you. I know how beautiful you are, as cliche as it is, inside and out. People around you see it, too. But just because people see the beauty, the goodness, in you, it doesn't mean they know you yet. Give them time.

You will find your people. You'll find people you love who will love you. You'll find people who will share your faith. You'll find people who you care about so deeply that being friends with them will make you want to be a better person.

Don't be afraid to lean on your faith and the friends and family you already have while you're working on finding your people for this next part of your journey. And if you ever want to talk to me... I'm only a phone call away.

By the way, college is where I was when I got to know your family. And that was also one of the best things that ever happened to me.

I love you!



tracy said...

YOU are my people! I loved this. I love 101.

MamaK said...

This is awesome! and totally true for me too. I met incredible people, but it took a while for 'our souls' to connect. I only got to go home 1x a semester, but that gave me enough air to make it. Interestingly enough, I also had a re-shuffle in my Junior year. Hope your friend is both adjusting and being gentle with him/herself!