This afternoon I had to come to terms with the fact that I’m nowhere near ready to move completely out of my parents’ house just yet. The simple truth is that I have too much stuff to cart around, taking everything to school with me would just be impractical. I’ve spent several hours trying to streamline my boxes of memories, but with little success. This afternoon I whiled away the time going through these stubborn boxes once again, categorizing and piling and tossing out, and I came across a letter from my high school theater teacher to the kids in my class when we graduated.
My graduating class was the first class she had followed through all four years of teaching, and I must admit she did leave an impact. For most of us she was the only teacher to be an active part of our lives from freshman through senior year, and although she began as a teacher eventually she became more of a friend. I wasn’t ever BFFs with her but we did get along well and had a few laughs along the way. More importantly, I grew to respect her as more than just a teacher, but as a person.
The letter she gave us was double-sided. On the front was a few simply typed paragraphs directed solely to our class, but on the reverse was a bulleted list of pieces of advice she had given to last year’s graduates that she liked so much she wanted to make sure she shared it with us, too. I remember reading the list and laughing with everyone else (because it is very humorous), but after my first year of college is under my belt I see exactly how right she was about so many things. Here are my top five favorites for you to enjoy and pass on the wisdom.
5) “Enjoy the fact that you are not really in the ‘real world’ yet, just the semi-real one.”
To me, college feels like what I wanted high school to be. Laid back, lots of liberties, lots of friends, less drama, etc. Sure, we may be doing some adult things and living on our own, but contemporary dorm life feels more like an extension of high school than anything else. Like a boarding school. For some reasons I really dislike this, but for others, well… let’s just say I heeded my teacher’s advice!
4) “Sit in the front of the class. It will make you pay attention, which means you won’t really have to study that much. Unless you are taking something ridiculous like Organic Chemistry, in which case — best of luck.”
Paying attention in class saved me hours of studying. As in, if I paid attention in a class and actively participated in note taking or class discussions, I rarely had to study.
3) “If you start (or continue) smoking cigarettes, figure out how to stop before you graduate college so you don’t become a gross smoker forever. Somehow it’s not as gross in college. But it still is, really, so nevermind.”
I’ve heard rumors that my campus is the smokiest college campus in the U.S. I don’t like to admit it, but I have to say it’s true.
2) “When something bad happens, ask yourself how much it will bother you ten years from now. If the answer is ‘not at all’, then it’s probably not that important.”
I’m kind of a catastrophist. When something bad happens (especially if it deals with money), I immediately catastrophize and lose my head. I have to calm myself, and several times I found myself doing as my teacher said, asking myself if it will matter in 10 years. Generally, the answer is that it won’t, and I can move on with my life.
And last but not least…
1) “Wear sunscreen.”
My teacher is a pale redhead, and I’m a pale blonde, so I’m pretty sure her words didn’t ring truer with anyone else in the class!