Dear Freshman Erin,
You’ve always had amazing intuition. The sense of possibility and new beginnings that’s ripe inside you is correct: anything can happen and many things will. However, you’ve always been a dreamer too and your vision for the future is rosier than the reality.
As smart as you are, you’ve yet to learn wisdom; something you won’t find in a textbook. You’ll study for hours. You’ll make B’s. You’ll make A’s. You still won’t know what to do when you lose your mom.
You’ll get in shape. Perfect shape. So you can be pretty and skinny in your wedding dress then catch a virus day-of the wedding and you won’t even get to taste the food.
You’ll get perfect attendance. You’ll accomplish goals. You’ll write a book for fun. You will still have lots to learn when you become a mom.
You’ll leave school. You’ll come back. You’ll take six years to finish a four year degree. You’ll hear advice like that in this letter and believe it doesn’t apply to you.
Your right to work to avoid the mistakes of others but to struggle against them is futile and silly. Misfortune is the seed to understanding. Seek to learn all you can, but true wisdom isn’t found. True wisdom finds you. While books are important, life is what happens outside of them. Study the words of smart people, but learn to apply them to what matters in life at the end of it.
Don’t allow yourself to be defined by a number. 5-foot-2, 135 pounds, 3.2 GPA. They are statistics, not characteristics of who you are. They make you no better and leave you no worse than you would be without them.
Above all: live, forgive, and be grateful. To neglect these things hurts no one but you.
Oh yeah, and write. Keep writing. That accounting major fools no one.
Erin of the Future
P.S. Go see the Beastie Boys in concert or you will regret it for the rest of your life.