|My dad actually had me up on his shoulders for the pic before a Badger Football game|
Energy drinks for finals
Library study sessions
Pictures with Bucky
Copious amounts of college apparel
I'm starting grad school (online) in a few weeks and I couldn't help but reminisce over all the fun times that I had in college. If you have friends that have gone to Madison, I'm sure you've heard them talk about in length, but I love my alma mater. It's not just the school, the entire city is so charming and relatable that you easily fall in love with it. I wish I had more time there. I was crazy involved on campus but there are still so many opportunities and things that I wish I had explored. So as I approach the very "grown-up" aspect of starting grad school at Liberty University, I thought about what I would say to my college self now as an Air Force Officer and over a year since I graduated.
Welcome to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one of the best schools in the country. You are about to have a blast and half here and I so wish I could be the big sister that guides you through all of it. So this letter to myself will just have to do.
Freshman year is an exciting time. Mom will send you to college with way too much stuff and way too many clothes. Less is more sweetheart and your freshman roommate will thank you. You won't make the marching band during the first week of being on campus but that's OK because right after you find out, you got a bid into Theta and you're about to meet some of the greatest ladies that will help influence your college career. The guy you're dating is actually a terrible boyfriend. Like Dad said, if he really liked you he would move mountains to be with you. Be single and don't be attached to that one specific guy. Break up and don't worry because he'll mature and you'll be friends later on.
Make sure you study and also drop fricken Philosophy 101. You will hate the class despite whatever the SOAR registration guy suggested to you and you also won't be pre-Business. The only good thing that came from that class was meeting your friend Jon, but other than that you need to drop that class. On that note- it's ok to drop classes. That's another thing you'll be worried about- quitting things you've started. That doesn't count in this situation. You are paying for the course and if you don't like the instructor, TA, or how it's being taught- change the class ASAP. Change your major and get out of having Philosophy, Math, and Econ all in the same semester. That was a no good, very bad idea. After one of your infuriating math classes, you will decide to meet with a guidance counselor who will help guide you into the Journalism School and that is a way better fit. You will love it more than you know and it will leave a lasting impression. If you don't heed these words, you'll be making up for it as you try to raise your GPA for the rest of your college experience.
Do your readings and don't slack off just because you want to go out on the weekends or like I said above, you hate the class. This is incredibly important, especially during your freshman and sophomore years. More than one exam relied a little too much on the readings and a lot less on the lectures. This will catch you off guard and your exam grades will suffer. Make sure you make academics a top priority and don't waste too much energy on the guys there because you don't end up marrying a guy from college anyways.
Speaking of that you're going to date a lot of mediocre guys. Yes, I know they're very attractive and successful in their college careers, but they're not good men. Hometown guy that you meet while working together lifeguarding is going to wreak havoc on your heart when he cheats on you. He's a key player in your life story because this relationship will become the fodder for all the excuses to date very specific, lousy guys. You accept the relationship you think you deserve and you deserve a lot better. Everything is going to work out. Don't date guys for the sake of dating because you're going to be introduced into the very harsh reality that what seems good on paper (or while he is sober) is actually a pretty terrible boyfriend. Also don't date a football player for the sake of dating a Badger football player. You're in love with the school, the city, and its people. That one guy does not encompass all of that and that's way too much to put on one guy from Texas. Be friends, don't date. That relationship, I can promise you, is just going to make you feel less than you deserve. Don't do that to yourself.
Your junior and senior year, you're going to focus on academics and work a lot (get it girl!). However, don't sacrifice your personal relationships. Being a leader in your sorority will become harder and at one point during your senior year you aren't involved at all. You'll regret this because you will miss your sisters. You're going to miss hanging out in the lounge, watching movies, eating chocolate and ice cream together, and getting ready to go out together. Don't let being married change that in you.
Speaking of being married...you get married! He's a pretty swell guy and if I told my freshman self who it was, you would never believe me. So, I won't say much but you're going to know when you start dating that he's the one. You're also going to get a lot of criticism about getting married while in college and things will change dramatically. I don't think I can give you too much advice on it, because I don't have any. That situation played exactly how I believe God intended it to and everything worked out.
My biggest piece of advice is to work hard and enjoy it all. Spoiler alert, you don't get the Air Force job you were recruited into ROTC for and I'm telling you now that you haven't spent enough time on that gorgeous terrace. Learn how to sail on Lake Mendota and go skinny dipping more often. Build up those relationships with your friends because you're going to miss them more than you know when you all are spread across the country. Enjoy every football game, every bratwurst, every piece of college apparel, every memory that you make. Walking across the stage as you graduate and even more so as you commission into the Air Force are going to be amazing moments that will forever be engrained in your mind. For having thought that you were going to the University of Central Florida and changing your mind at the last minute, you made a great choice.