A letter to my 30-year-old Self

Since I will be graduating this week, my life has been to say the least, hectic. From planning a dinner, to fitting into my gown, to passing all my finals, I’ve not had much time to myself. Well, I finally took the time, and reflected on the last four years, as well as what my future holds… What I came up with was a letter. A letter of my most important learnings of college and what I hope my future looks like…. A letter to myself, when I turn 30. So here it is:

Hey Col!

So I guess you’re the big Three Oh, now! I hope that means great things for you and you’re living the life your 23-year-old self was imagining. As I am writing this letter, I’m only days away from probably the biggest moment of our life at this point, Graduation of College. I whipped up a few things I hope you still remember about your college life and that you’ve implemented into the awesome person you are today, because honestly, college probably made a huge impact on the person you’ve turned out to be (which, I can only assume, is totally kick ass!!)

In college you learned:

  1. You can’t make everyone happy. It’s okay to try sometimes, but sometimes it’s about you. There will be people who try to make you feel as if you owe them something, but you don’t. Gifts are gifts, not loans. Make sure to show your appreciation by saying thank you and using the gift to its fullest potential, but it’s not your job to spend the rest of your life making up for gifts given to you. If someone wants to loan you something, they need to make sure that’s clear in the beginning.
  2. You aren’t afraid of anything. (Well, most things…). I hope that in 10 years, 50 years, you still aren’t afraid to take chances. Living life is a risk, so risk it, you’ve only got once chance to do it right! At 23, you were they embodiment of a 20-something with absolutely no fear of death or worry of the future. It will all work out, and if it doesn’t work out quite the way you expected (which at 23, I can tell you, it never does), you’ve been smart enough this far to figure it out. Don’t stress the small stuff, you’ve got this!
  3. Advice is for suckers. (Well, it’s kind of ironic, since I’ve made this list, but anyway…). In college you’ve learned that lots of people have things to say. You constantly were told how things will work, what steps you should take, and how to best figure out problems… and guess what, you still ended up taking a different path. You want to know why? Because everything works out for everyone in different ways. People asked you for advice too, and you learned that most situations they were in, in no way were similar to your own. You can learn perspective from others, but as far as advice goes, take it with a grain of salt and do what you think is best.
  4. Your GPA doesn’t define you. In High School you were told GPA and SAT scores were super important, they were the essentials to college acceptance. They may or may not have been true, but in college we tend to get caught up in that idea; that a GPA defines your intelligence. Not so much. You could out talk most of your peers about the species of lemurs or the migration of monarch butterflies, but you’re GPA sucked…. You still graduated, and so far, no interview has asked for your GPA.
  5. People make the experience. It doesn’t matter if they are forever-kind of people, at-the-moment-kind of people, or get-away-from-me-quick kind of people, they all make a difference. They shape who you are and you’ve learned something valuable from everyone in college.

So what do I hope for you at 30:

  1. I hope you’re eating better. Ramen was cheap, but you’ve got good taste and microwave noodles did not quench anything except headaches and the runs. You deserve better…
  2. I hope you’ve got a small home that you can keep clean. In college you lived with too much space, and too little. I hope you’ve found a balance. Something that is cost efficient, small, and easy to maintain     . Life is too short to spend copious amounts of time dusting, and you spent too much college time doing that. Smaller living also keeps you from hoarding stuff you don’t need. Bigger isn’t better.
  3. I hope you got another degree. You love learning, and you always have. Given circumstances in college and after, I hope you never felt discouraged to continue. Your education has always been super important for you, so I hope you’re still going, even at 30, learning new things.
  4. I hope you spent time traveling. I hope you finally made it to Greece, and Africa. I hope you went back to Chicago for a visit. I hope at some point you gave your time and volunteer in a place that needed your love and support. I hope you traveled somewhere to do research and explore. I hope you also have plans to continue traveling soon!
  5. And lastly, I hope you are happy at 30. You were happy at 23. Life wasn’t perfect, but you owned your life. You lived every moment to the fullest and regretted nothing. You were making a difference and you went to bed finding something to be thankful for each night. I hope that 7 years as treated you well, and you are ROCKING IT!!

With love and confidence, for yourself,

Colleen Noel