By Alexa Gold
Dear 18-Year-Old Self,
You will smile as your parents drive away at the initial start of freshman year. College will be a time for freedom and growth; a journey all your own. However, as the years pass, you will slowly want to crawl back to the shinier days when your parents weren’t even adults in your eyes; they were just “yours.”
Making crucial decisions on your own is thrilling, but it’s also terrifying. Slowly but surely, your college experience will make you question what to trust, who to trust and how to trust.
For you, the most important factors of living a “happy” life will be trust and safety. This isn’t to say that your won’t leave your comfort zone and live as a brazen spirit. In fact, you will apply yourself to challenges that reach far beyond any of your expectations. The independent choices that you make for the next four years will take you to Montreal, England, and even Woodstock (YOUR DREAM!). You will become the free spirited individual that New Paltz will encourage you to be.
You will begin to understand that the world will always tell you how to run your life. In fact, you will decide to enter an industry that regurgitates stereotypes and feeds the popular culture machine. You will be inspired to change that. You will begin to realize the world is much greater than yourself, even though you struggle with being selfish. You will develop an even deeper appreciation for humanity and will come to terms with the fact that you are, by nature, a social butterfly (and that’s completely okay). It doesn’t make you smarter or dumber than anyone else. It is a means of expression. The world needs people who aren’t afraid to speak their minds.
At 22, you are going to question your professional and personal placement in life. Guess what? No one understands their purpose. Every day is an opportunity to find your balance, even when you feel like you’re walking on a tightrope.
And that’s when you look to your parents. Sure, you’re older now and things have changed but family and friends will get you through. Community, that safety and trust, is what’s important to you.
Breathe a little, kiddo. You’re doing good.