Dear Candace from 3 years ago,
You’re enjoying your senior year of high school. You just wrote and directed your own production at school, you’re getting ready for prom, and you’re ready to get the dodge out of town. Even with all this excitement about moving on from high school, you’re still shaking in your boots about the c-word: College.
You’re worried about moving away from home and starting the next chapter of your life in a new place. You’re thinking: “What if I don’t like this school? What if I made the wrong decision?” “What if I get lost to class?” “What if I get homesick?” “What if I don’t make any new friends?”
What if.. what if… what if.
Listen, I understand your apprehension but listen to me.
The day of move-in, when you start pulling up to your dorm, your heart is a drum, your palms are sweaty and Coldplay’s “Every Tear Drop is a Waterfall” is pumping hard from your headphones against your eardrums but guess what happens? When you walk into your room, take in the subpar wooden furniture, and beige brick walls, you feel at peace. All the nerves just… relax. Crazy ain’t it?
You don’t get lost to class–well, not usually–but you do lose yourself the first semester. You’re still adjusting and transitioning into college life but uh…. fam. You do realize you actually have to do work right? Like “open up a book and turn in assignments” work? Please read your syllabus before classes start. Please get a planner and write the due dates of your assignments in the planner and actually USE the planner. Don’t turn your work in late and actually put effort into your schoolwork. If you’re struggling with a class, go to the tutoring center. It’s there for a reason. Since you failed to do all of the above, your GPA suffered.
But don’t worry.
Throughout the remainder of your time in college, your GPA starts to bump up because your work ethic decided to come into existence. It’ll pay off in the end. Keep up the hard work.
Now for the f-word: friends… You do build friendships so don’t worry but don’t expect to have a whole squad. Your circle of friends actually ends up being small. The friends you make your freshman year are temporary for the most part. Most of you become different people and drift apart. And guess what? That’s ok. You survived. Cherish the friends you do have though. They really do care about you and they’re friends for a lifetime. Don’t take them for granted.
Actually, what you should do is get involved on campus more. There’s a spoken word group on campus. Check them out, go to their show, and audition for the team. That’s a great way to get to know people and to put yourself out there. Stop being a social hermit.
Just know that the theatre department will humble you greatly. You’ll be excited to see that there’s over 20 black theatre majors but that doesn’t mean the theatre department is in your favor (hint, hint).
One night, as you’re watching a phenomenal rendition of “The Giver” being performed by your school’s theatre department, you start thinking to yourself: “This is why I write.”
What? I know. Ain’t that off? Usually you say “This is why I act” when you see a great performance. Nope. Not this time. You see, the dope thing about college is that you truly do find yourself and you put the pieces of the puzzle together slowly. You realize what you truly want to do in life. You realize who you are and what you stand for. You evolve from this meek, nervous freshmen to this sure, assertive upperclassmen.
As a result of your epiphany that came to you during the play, you eventually decide to drop Theatre as your major. You become a Media Studies major as well because you realized writing and directing was your drive. You want to be the person behind the camera, not the person in front of it.
I’m not sure if college is the best years of your life. You still have a long way to go. But I will tell you that college is your years of self-discovery and self-evolution. It is the years that you learn so many new things but also unlearn a lot of old things. This is your time to put in the work. This is your time to network, to put yourself out there, to explore. Your life is right in front you. Don’t take this time for granted.
These years are yours. Make them count.
Yourself in 3 years.
**P.S. – Tell mom that you won’t find your husband in college. You’ll be too busy making major moves and she’ll deal.