Do you ever think about your past self and think, if I could go back and tell them something, what would it be?
My mind always seems to go back to that question around my birthday. With the knowledge and experience that I have now, what would I tell my younger self? And which younger self would it be? My 13-year-old self? My 18-year-old self? My 22-year-old self?
Well, I decided to write a letter to my 18-year-old self.
Why 18? Honestly, because to me, 18 seemed to be like that moment just before everything changed. I graduated high school at 18, and started university – and the next five years dealt a lot of lessons and changes.
So, without further ado, here’s a letter to 18-year-old me.
Dear 18-year-old Karina,
You’re probably feeling pretty great now. You graduated high school, went to prom with someone you had the biggest crush on for three years (he ended up coming out as gay the summer after first year uni by the way), and you got accepted into your first choice for university!
You’re feeling really excited to get that fresh start at a new school with new people, and to start taking Psychology and English courses.
You also stopped writing that summer, because you felt like your stories weren’t that impactful for you or for anyone else to read. You thought you knew it all.
Well. You didn’t.
You ended up not liking Psychology and went back to the one thing you avoided – writing. You double majored in Professional Writing and Communications AND English. That was a mouthful to say to everyone after graduation.
You did not end up dating anyone that seriously during university, but you had some fun (I’ll leave that for you to find out for yourself). You met people that would go on to become some of your closest friends, and you’re going to have an absolute blast with them.
The next five years are going to fun, hard and absolutely crazy all at once. You’re going to make and lose friends, you’re going to doubt yourself, you’re going to take everything too seriously, and you’re going to accomplish things you never thought you would (hint: it involves writing. A lot of writing).
You’re going to become a heck of a lot more comfortable with your hearing loss. Right now, you can barely admit it to yourself, but that’s okay. You’re going to learn how to talk about it and it’ll be just fine.
You’re going to doubt your abilities to accomplish some things and it will stop you from doing what you wanted to do, like applying to become a full-time editor for your university’s newspaper, or not entering those writing contests that the university holds every year. That’s okay too. You will learn from those lessons and it will teach you to never let some doubt get in the way of what you want.
You’re going to meet people that are just plain mean. And it will get you down. But guess what, you cried a bit, then you got right back up. So, I’m proud of you. The next time that a person was mean to you, you stood your ground and defended yourself.
You’re going to get the urge to learn and explore more of anything that interests you, and you gave some things a shot! But not everything.
Well, let me just say something.
If you’re in the slightest bit interested in something, try it. Try it all. The next five (you end up taking a fifth year) years will be full of piqued interests and now is the time to explore those interests and see where it takes you.
And one more piece of advice (sorry, couldn’t resist) is do not let your hearing loss make you stubborn. Stand up for yourself and get what you need if you need it. You’ll be better for it. Trust me.
You’ll be fine, and I know that because I’m doing great.
P.S. Stop straightening your hair. I’m spending years recovering from that damage. Your curls are great – just stop going to crappy hairdressers and find a good one.