To the freshman girl, from the girl who dropped out

9:59 AM

Hey you. I see you. Yep, you. The one whose kinda standing there awkwardly among the sea of new freshman. Your hair is perfectly tied with a zebra print ribbon which you wore because apparently you're a 5 year old little girl. I think you just noticed they're not very "in" here so you took it out of your hair when you got into your dorm. You wore that ratty A&M shirt for two reasons. One for comfort since it's move in day and two because you wanted to be funny. You are definitely not at A&M but you are here, college. A place you never thought you would get to.

(First picture in my dorm)

I could tell you not to take that awful mirror selfie with the "care free" peace sign but I'd be preaching to the choir. You're just excited. I get it. Oh my do I get it! See that picture above? Yep. I so get it. You'll look back at these pictures and laugh. But not everything you take a picture of will be that funny. You might be dumb enough to take some drunk pictures because, well of course, it's your first college party and you want to remember. Don't drink the Kool-Aid, girl! They're not all they're cracked up to be. "Liquid Courage" is just a poor, insecure girl's way of letting that upper classmen notice her. Don't even bother. You don't need their attention but again, I'm preaching to the choir. I know you'll do it anyway. You'll pay for that tomorrow. Toilet meet last night, last night meet toilet. 

(Fiesta)

This process of picking a major, filling out your financial aid forms, getting a small (but very stupid) student loan, buying your first laptop with your Operation Graduation money, putting yourself in the dorm lottery...all of it added up to this moment. You're here on your own. Your dorm is colorful and bright. You scored on this one! A private room tucked inside a dorm with 3 other roommates. The best of both worlds, really. Your parents have just left and you're headed off to that college party I mentioned earlier. Don't get too excited. The party gets broken up after an hour or two and you're running to the car with all of your new friends so as not to get caught. Very, very lame but a fun memory all the same. Try harder. I'm begging you! Focus on those classes. They're actually pretty simple if you would get your head out of the clouds. You think you're invincible now but come December your grades will say otherwise. I know you'll make up for it spring semester but wouldn't it be nice to know you wouldn't have to? 

(Spring semester, y'all)

Take it from me now while you can-this year really sets the pace for your college career. For the most part you'll finish off strong and I'm not just talking about your grades. I'm talking about who you are as well. Instead of skipping classes all the time you actually make an effort to go, instead of studying for 5 minutes in your dorm you're taking up a whole booth in the library until 2am getting ready for that English final. And you're not attending the parties anymore but you are driving your roommates to and from them. It's your way of keeping them safe. They're lucky to have a dedicated DD like you even if you don't come in and play a round of beer pong.

(Web cam photo while studying for History)

Don't move out of the dorms! I know the apartment life looks much more appealing than living on campus and I guess in some ways it is but you grow up the minute you sign that lease. Bills on top of bills on top of bills. Even with two other roommates you'll end up turning that part time job into full time. And then you realize your financial aid doesn't cover textbooks (and those basically cost as much as a years tuition) which sends you into the admissions office with the withdrawal form. All because you thought no one lives in the dorms after their second year ends. Not true. The smart people who want to save money and finish-they stay in those dorms and continue having a meal plan. Yep. They do it. They almost die from the food in the UC but at least they graduate from college!

(Another mirror selfie. First apartment.)

Personally, my life is pretty amazing. I have a wonderful husband who works hard so that I can stay home with our sweet toddler but I'd be lying if I said it doesn't bother me that I didn't stay in school. It bothers both Kaleb and I. Hopefully one day we will get the finances to go back but to you, the girl thinking about giving up, my piece of advice-DON'T DO IT! Keep pressing forward because that degree is well worth the next 3 years or 4 or 7..ok maybe not 7 but it is worth it. You might not have your dream career right after graduation but you will be able to say that you finished and that all your handwork paid off in the end.

(This was taken the morning all of my peers were graduating from ASU. Kaleb having sweet morning conversations with Elijah while he was still in my tummy.)

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