Dear Zoe...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 3 of the Back to School Blogging Challenge! Learn more about the challenge here.

What would I tell my Freshman Self?

I've made it through two years of college, and pretty successfully if I may say so. I have a great GPA, a great sisterhood, amazing friends, and I am part of some seriously awesome groups on campus. I live in a beautiful house, my campus is gorgeous, I will soon be embarking on an amazing adventure in one of my favorite countries, and I have some great jobs and internships. If you would have told me that I would have it so good when I was beginning college, I would have laughed in your face. I seriously would not have believed that I was capable or worthy of success.

I'm a campus tour guide at DU, and I get a lot of chances to interact with prospective students and their families, who often seek advice about college. Of course, I think about what I was like when I was looking at colleges, a senior in high school, and utterly terrified of the future. I wish I could go back in time and give myself some advice. For now, my blog will have to do! I wrote an open letter to myself as a freshman, where I give myself five pieces of advice that I wish I would have known then, and that I strive to follow now, and in the future.


Dearest Zoe,

You are about to start a journey to be remembered! I am halfway done with college already, and it's been a scary, tumultuous, insanely amazing time. You're just beginning, and I wanted you to know just a couple of things before you go, and a couple things to keep in mind as you embark on this new adventure.

1. Don't sweat the small stuff - let yourself be inspired by everything.

One of my favorite things that I've been told is to think about what I want my gravestone to say (it sounds morbid, but it seriously helps put things in perspective). Do not chase accolades, awards, or recognition. Work hard because it is worth it for you, help people because they need to be helped, do your homework because it will help you learn.

2. You are worth more than your grades. 

It's easy to get dejected and upset when you get back a grade that is less-than-stellar, you weren't anticipating, or is a downright failure. These things are all okay, and they are not the end of the world. A number on a piece of paper does not indicate anything about your worth, your talent, or your success. Work hard, do your best, and be confident. Your worth is dictated by who you are, so let it shine through.

3. You don't have to have everything figured out.

Honestly, it's better not to because you're going to change your mind a million times. It's okay to have goals, aspirations, and dreams, but don't beat yourself up if they change. Most of all, do not think for one single second that you have to follow a certain path because it leads to more money, especially if it's something you're not passionate about. Start with what makes you happy, excited, and your path will become clear.

4. Take care of yourself! 

Go to the gym. Don't fight, just do it. Go to yoga. Kindness Yoga in Cherry Creek is amazing - start there. Do it in your room. MAKE TIME.

Also, part of taking care of yourself is knowing when to ask for help. You are the only one who knows what you need, and you need to advocate for yourself. You will have an amazing support network, so take advantage of that. Be honest with yourself, and others, about what you need.

Sometimes, the people you think are your friends may not be in a year. It's okay to lose a friend as you grow, mature, and change. Be honest with yourself if someone is toxic in your life, and do what you need to do to take care of yourself. You will meet toxic people and they will hurt you. You deserve to have good friends.

5. You are beautiful. Don't give anyone the power to make you feel differently. 

I'm still on a journey of self-love and self-acceptance, and this one is something I struggle with every day. I wish I had started back where you are now, before leaving for DU. You will meet people who are mean - it's a fact. Do not let those people dictate how you feel about yourself. Your love must come from you before you can accept it from anyone else.

You are worthy of love and affection - yours more than anyone else's. 

Enjoy this time. This year will fly by.




What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time?


  1. What a wonderful letter! Thank you so much for letting us read that letter. I feel that if I were to write a letter to myself as a freshman, it would look very similar. (Particularly highlighting the Friendship Changes issue, which I am still working through, and the don't-stress-so-much-about-grades thing. I got so wrapped up in maintaining a 4.0 that I really stopped having any joy at all.) Now you have me wanting to write a letter of my own!


  2. Thanks Orly! I can't wait to see how the first few weeks of your first year go. I'm sure it will be great!

  3. Yes ma'am! I have loved college and it's loved me right back.