Dear freshman 19-year-old Lizbeth,
It is November 22, 2017 and you never expected your life to be the way it is right now. You had many paths in mind, always intricate but always worth the trouble. Your dreams were big and your worries were small. But today, on this Wednesday afternoon as you sit in the library doing homework during break (bummer) you can’t help but reflect on the roller coaster of your life.
A little over a year ago you were so set on going to Iowa State University, eleven months ago you were set on going to the University of Colorado Boulder, nine months ago you were set on going to the University of Minnesota, and then in April you made the ultimate decision to attend the University of Iowa. You, out of everyone, should know by now that life never goes as planned so quit trying to pencil everything into your planner. It’s complicated, things pop up, situations occur, you lose people and you gain people. . . but in the end, everything happened exactly the way it was meant to happen. All the puzzle pieces fit, all the paths make sense.
It was a rocky start, but you pulled through – just the way you always do. If things change again, I want to remind you that IT’S OKAY! Do not set a concrete plan in your head, because when it changes you’ll be disappointed. Instead, focus on each day as they pass by and continue to keep those around you close. You’ve got such good people in your life, don’t let them slip away. Coming to Iowa not only gave you life-long friends, but sisters too. Be grateful because you never would’ve met them if you stayed home. They’re all so good to you. Don’t forget to tell them daily how much you love them just as they always remind you.
However, stuff is going to happen to you. The hurt, failures, and heartbreaks aren’t over yet. As a matter of fact, they’re just beginning. But you’ve pulled through it in the past, and you’ll continue to pull through it in the future. Do not let the failed relationship, bad exam grade, or homesickness hold you back. Take all of that and use it as motivation to keep chugging along. You’re unstoppable girl. Always remember that.
I know you miss the Lizbeth that shrugged problems off and always knew what she was doing. She misses you too. To meet her again, you must slow down from time to time. It’s okay to say “screw it” every now and then. Go do something you love. Stay an extra five minutes in the sauna, go buy one more coffee, sleep in a little longer. Taking one day off isn’t prohibited. Just be smart about it when you do it.
Even though I want you to have more answers than you do questions, don’t quit asking them. At the same time don’t overthink everything. Don’t wait around for that over-due apology, that invitation to talk, or explanations to past situations. Let it go, because I can assure you that they already did.
I also know you’re struggling with the thought of transferring and changing your major. Don’t. I know it’s hard, I know the workload is insane, and I know that there’s an easy way out to all of this. But let me ask you this: when has taking the easy way out led you closer to your goals? Psychiatry is a pain in the butt, all the sciences and maths are hard when all you want to do is go out and have fun. However, you’ll be thanking yourself profusely in six to eight years when you’re doing what you love. Stick with it. And Lizbeth. . . don’t leave Iowa City. I know that a lot of your friends who left Sioux County are transferring back. Don’t follow the trend. Stick with the decision you made. Being home feels good, but when will you ever leave if you don’t leave now?
Most importantly, I want you to know that you are thriving. You’ve accomplished more than you give yourself credit for. The new reality of life is that it’s always going to be messy – but that’s okay because you’re handling it. Quit being so hard on yourself girl. You’re doing everything you’re supposed to be doing. I am so proud of you.
You got this.