I took a blogging class this past semester, and part of our homework each week was to complete a writing exercise. This one in particular was a favorite of mine. We were asked to have our future selves write about our present selves. I wanted to share it because I’m sure many of you can understand where I’m coming from (and because I think it’s pretty good for a first draft).
Ten years have gone by, but I still remember that feeling of anxiety and uncertainty in the pit of my stomach. I spent a lot of time holed up in the Writing Center on campus, feeling the stress of school and reality pressing down on me like a cinder block. It was the same anxiety I felt when I stepped onto the campus for the first time as a freshman. I didn’t know who I was, what I was doing, or what my future would be like. Would I feel a sense of belonging? Would I meet people who would actually “get” me? I was ready for the change of pace, but to what extent I wasn’t sure.
I made it though. It wasn’t easy. There were a lot of late nights, term papers, and bottles of beer. There were some near nervous breakdowns too. The smell of weed at 2am permeating from my suitemate’s room started to become a strange sort of security blanket; at least I wasn’t all alone during those late nights. I kept telling myself it would all be worth it in the end.
I made Rutgers my home for five years. There was a Wednesday during the Fall semester of my senior year when I was sitting alone in the Writing Center, two hours before we were supposed to open. I was working on a writing sample for my graduate school applications, completely clueless as to what direction my story should take. It hit me then that one year from that moment I’d be starting over, in a new place, with new people and new jobs. I wouldn’t be going to work at the Writing Center, or even to my other on-campus computer job. And if I played my cards right, I wouldn’t be living at home with my mother anymore either. It was a surreal thought.
But the alternate thought was that my endless amounts of homework would prevent me from getting that writing sample done or filling out applications. I would have to keep living with my mother, because I didn’t get into any grad programs. I’ve come to realize that people in their early twenties doubt themselves a whole lot.
But everything turned out okay in the end, even after all of the worrying. I did manage to get away from the little bubble I created. I did move halfway across the country to pursue a degree that most people thought was a useless waste of time, which made it possible for me to write this while sitting on the couch in pajamas while everyone else is working a nine-to-five. I wish there was a way to tell the college senior version of me to slow down and enjoy an occasional lunch break, and to drink the coffee simply for the pleasure of it.
What would future you say about present you?