A Letter to My 18 Year-Old Self

AliDear Ali, I’m writing you this letter from your future 22-year-old self. You’re in your last month of high school, so excited to graduate and start the next chapter of your life. Savor every moment of it because those memories will be with you for many years to come. You have such a great group of friends that you have been going to school with for the last 13 years; enjoy every second with them. Friendships like those will last a lifetime. Don’t worry about that high school crush you had on that boy from the school down the street, you have bigger and better things waiting for you in years to come.

You may not have gotten into your dream school, but trust me, things work out. Your first couple months or so of college may seem like a shock, starting school in a new place with new people and being so far from your family. But don’t fret, you’ll soon find your niche and a wonderful group of friends that make college seem like your second home. Make sure you immerse yourself in both your university community and your greater community. Get involved with on-campus clubs, volunteer at a local hospital, and explore the city.

Be sure to stay healthy. Go to the gym (it’s part of your undergraduate fees, so take advantage of it when you can), go to yoga, take a ballet class, and eat healthy. Make a recipe book filled with some of your favorite recipes and some recipes you want to try so you never run out of ideas of healthy meals to make for dinner. You’re going to have to resist the urge to eat Chipotle every day, but having it every now and then won’t hurt you.

Life is going to throw some curve balls at you during your college years but you’re friends and your family are there to help you when you fall. Be prepared for sadness, disappointment, and rejection, but don’t be afraid to lean on your friends and family for support. That’s what they are there for.

I’m writing this letter to you as I finish up my undergraduate years. Once again you’ll go through some changes. Even as the beginning of May is approaching, I still don’t know where I’ll be after graduation; maybe starting a new job or maybe taking some extra classes and applying to medical school. I know you like to put yourself and your life on a timeline but stop doing that. Things will work themselves out. That is something I still have to remind myself every day. Slow down and take the time to soak in all the fun and the memories.

Don’t be afraid of change. Think of those pains of sadness you’re feeling about leaving the comfort of your home and your high school as growing pains. You’re going to feel those same pains four years down the road. But they are just a part of life and you learn to adjust to those pains. Take some risks. Don’t be afraid of failure because failure often means that a chance was taken. Taking chances is the most necessary way to achieve your dreams, even if you hit a few road bumps along the way. Learn from your mistakes (trust me, you’ll keep making them, but you’ll also keep learning). Stand up for yourself when you feel that people treat you wrong. Read lots of books and stay up to date on what’s going on in the world. Call your family when you need someone to talk to. Believe in yourself and your dreams. Keep smiling. Be brave.

Lots of Love,
Future Ali