Dear Future Self,
Congratulations! You have just graduated college!
Now, you are embarking on the rest of your life. But, before you get a too ahead of yourself, I want to reflect on the past four years. When I think about what I want you to have accomplished or experienced in those years, I come up with a blank. Did you go after love? adventure? lust? friendship? education? power? status? inner peace? a combination of those? or something completely different all together?
I found this other TP article, “An Open Letter to My Future Self” by Heather Weaver, with a very similar premise and I think there is a definite fascination with trying to live life with as few regrets as possible. It makes sense, but I wonder if through that process of constant scrutiny over what will make life most meaningful, we actually lose meaning. So, the question is “How do you make high school, college, life as meaningful as possible?” Obviously, I don’t know.
So, I asked a few of our peers what they wanted out of college through a very non-scientific survey. The majority of them believe that college should be primarily about friendship and education. The latter makes a lot of sense, of course. You go to school to learn. Hopefully, you have acquired deep knowledge in various subjects that will help you with your career and life, in general. In fact, I hope you have taken full advantage of the academic facilities of college both through the institution itself and also, through your fellow classmates.
According to this Business Insider article, there are a few specific ways in which you could have taken that advantage, from getting “to know your professors” to choosing “classes that teach ‘real world’ skills”. A few of your peers (once again, not scientifically so) seem to think that the ability to “learn how to think critically and filter out unnecessary information” is one of the most important pieces of advice and I agree with them. In this day and age, the ability to filter out all the unnecessary information from social media and concentrate on any real expression of productivity is not only a desired skill; it is a gift. Filter out as in discern important content, not in reference to the Instagram filter. Hopefully, you have stayed off Netflix enough for college to help you improve your mental capabilities and efficiency.
But, obviously, college should have also been a social experience, in reference to the aforementioned desired “friendship” as a result from my non-scientific survey. College is microcosm, where you met people from all of the world with diverse backgrounds and unique perspectives on life. In fact, I know you were in such great company these past fours. Among them was Shandiin Herrera from Kayenta, Arizona. Her perspective on the what the college experience should be is without a doubt distinct. She comments, “Coming from the Navajo Nation, where life is completely diverse from the rest of the country, will have given me the courage to learn about other cultures and be open-minded.” I hope you have carried yourself with that same bravery because if you have, you have probably learned so much about the world and are now so much more accepting and fulfilled.
So, I guess at this point in the article I should know exactly what I wanted our college experience to be. But, to be honest, it doesn’t seem that simple. To be able to pinpoint to a montage of the past four years and say “that’s it!” seems impossible not, of course, because we are limited, but because there are so many possibilities. I just hope you have very few regrets. I hope you pursued love, adventure, friendship, education, and so much more. I hope you made mistakes – lots of disastrous, messy mistakes, but I hope you learned from them. But, really, I really hope for is that you were open to the possibility of a life more meaningful than the one you already had because if you were, I am sure that college was the best time of your life.
You, four years ago