Dear Eighteen-Year-Old Me

This month, I'm going to be writing letters to myself at various stages in my life. Below is the fourth installment, for my eighteen-year-old self. Check back next week for the next letter! Dear eighteen-year-old me,

You are about to embark on a grand adventure that has the potential to dramatically change your life. This is your chance for a fresh start. Be bold. Be courageous. Be a little crazy.

I know you don't want to let go of the world behind you and the life you've lived until now, but you can't hold onto it and move forward at the same time. Acknowledge that you will have to let go of what you're trying to desperately to cling to in order to embrace the better things that lie before you. You will be okay. You will make new friends-- some of the best friends of your life. You will find work. You will find a major that you love. You will find an amazing community of people to live life with. But you must start by letting go of what's behind you.

You will never again have so much free time, so make the most of it. This is a unique stage of life-- one in which you have the freedom to build your own schedule, live in close quarters with some amazing people, and have opportunities at every turn to do crazy things with them. Don't miss out on it because you're too busy trying to get everything on your to-do list crossed off.

Although schoolwork is important, don't forsake relationships in the name of academics. Your homework will always be there; opportunities to build your friendships and create memories may not. My hope for you is that you will invest more in people than in things, so that you will be able to look back in three years and see that you gained more than a diploma, that you were able to accomplish far more in the way of life experiences.

Don't be afraid to try things you're not good at for fear of looking foolish. Join the dance party. Play sand volleyball. Throw a Frisbee around. Don't allow fear to hold you back from living your life. Some of the craziest things that push you outside of your comfort zone will turn out to be the most memorable experiences. Don't sacrifice those in the name of your responsible reputation and comfort with doing only familiar things.

You will meet and get to know some of the sweetest, boldest, most genuine people in the next few years. Let them get to know you in return. Don't hold back just because you know this season of life is temporary. Your entire life is temporary. Live fully every day, as if it were your last. Cherish the friendships that come your way, for some of them will prove to stand the test of time and distance.

All my love,

Jessie