Dear first year of college Annie,
I’m reaching out to you during the month you felt the worst about college. It should be about a month before you successfully finish your first Fall semester. For you right now, it’s cold, and you hate it because you spend your breaks between classes sitting on a bench by yourself, trying to do homework while trying not to break down. You feel lost, alone, and scared that you’re not cut out for college; you’re scared that you will never be capable of functioning as an adult and that your anxiety will prevent you from growing up, but you have only just turned 18 and don’t realize just how young you still are. You’ll end up passing your classes, including the English class that makes you cry with every assignment that gets graded—and you will not BELIEVE where you end up working. I want to let you know that things do get better, and failing and getting bad grades will not ruin your whole life.
You’re dreading the thought of taking English 3, but you will have a completely different experience taking this English class. You’ll still be too scared to step foot in the Reading and Writing Center for help, but you will learn from your mistakes from the comments you receive from your instructor. You will grow as a writer, and Mrs. Lapp will notice that and recommend you become a tutor at the RWC. You won’t regret putting yourself out there and trying something out even though it terrifies you because of your anxiety. You’ll meet the most wonderful people through tutors and tutees you work with; some will become your closest friends. You’ll even end up becoming an embedded tutor for one of them! You will learn to not only lend help to others working as a tutor but also learn how to reach out for help as well. During your time here is when you will realize the importance of having connections with others and become passionate about trying to help others with their mental health. You’ll finally feel confident in what to study and major in psychology. You may bounce back and forth on majors but end up sticking with psychology with a goal of returning the favor of offering help the same way others have been able to help you.
I understand you may hate this point in your life where you feel like you have nothing figured out, but you’ll learn that these experiences you’re going through now will help you grow instead of fall apart in the future. Even now, I’m still not completely sure of what the future holds for me but looking back makes me realize how much we have grown. You need to keep going and trying for all these good things in your life to come. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time to process your emotions but always come back and try again until, eventually, you get it right!
Your still-anxious-but-more-hopeful future self