To my future children,
I remember growing up and rolling my eyes when my mom told me to lower my voice when speaking with people, or to see the bigger picture when I was upset about something. Yet, with my university career in the books, let me tell you I am sovery glad thatshe did. I had this notion that by the time you are of university age you have acquired the basic life skills to survive on your own, but it didn’t take until frosh week’s end for me to see that this is absolutely not the case. So many of my peers lacked not only these basic skills, but many also lacked the motivation to excel above the bare requirements of obtaining an education.
Perhaps it’s the age of participation ribbons and pats on the back, I’m not sure, but either way, here is my list of things I hope to have taught you before you embark on your post-secondary education.
How to do laundry, or really all household chores. If you’re coming to my doorstep with a basket of clothes on the weekends, you can have the machine if you must, but toss them in yourself. I’ve seen your poo-stained diapers and watched the evolution of sixteen sizes of pants, and I’ll be damned if you haven’t the skills to wash your own clothes. Furthermore, if I visit your house to see an overflowing garbage when it’s your week to take it out, expect words from an unimpressed mother. I’ve raised you and taught you what you need to know, so please just figure out how to live without me (but come visit when you’re lonely).
The world doesn’t owe you a damn thing. This is perhaps the most important thing I have to say. If you got a 65% on your Western Civ paper and started it the night before, don’t go sulking to the prof that you deserved better. Did you give it a proper edit? Did it include all relevant topics and sources? Do you fully understand the topic you wrote about?
If you answered ‘no’ to even one of these, take note of your mistake and do better next time. Skip all of your Friday 8:15s and lose 5% participation? Sounds like you’re the problem, so don’t go complaining to your instructor. Only person in the class with two midterms on the same day? Deal with it; don’t move around everyone else’s schedule. I hope I haven’t raised an entitled child, and if I somehow have managed to, turn it around quick, kid.
Drink your weight in water and pop some Tylenol before bed to save a hangover. Just wanted to pass on the advice I had to learn the hard way. Oh, and take your makeup off.
Everyone gets a degree. Let’s be real here, you are among thousands of other people in your age bracket working toward the same end goal. A degree will get you nothing without hard work and a little flare. Grades are important, but getting involved will give you the edge you need to get noticed.
Volunteer, stress yourself out – do whatever it takes to get your face and your name recognized as the best candidate post-grad. Netflix can wait; your future cannot.
Have an opinion. Be critical of the world around you – it can always be so much better. Universities are notorious for pumping their own tires. Don’t get me wrong - school pride is a beautiful thing, but we can’t let it get so far that we don’t ask for the experience we deserve. Young people have so much power within the university administration, yet so many just coast through.
Pissed with changes to residence? Pipe up. Annoyed with how fast theU eliminated positions at council last week? Tell them what you think. Your voice matters, and it deserves to be heard. Similarly, don’t let your friends walk all over you. You have the power to say no, and to hold a grudge over that person that just really sucks. Please, don’t be passive. You’re so much better than that.
You’ll be settled down soon enough, kiss the boys/girls while you can. Considering you’re my child, you’ll probably want to have a little fun to balance out the work you’ll put into your education. And I mean, the way I see it, if I didn’t have my fun while at StFX I would wind up either as that 40-year-old at the bar every weekend or a miserable, overworked, and burnt-out 28-year-old looking back on her wasted youth.
I am perfectly content to put in 60-hour weeks for the rest of my life, but I’m not so sure I would be if I didn’t put in my time at Piper’s these past three years. So long as you can get your work done, don’t be so quick to say no to the friend begging you to go to trivia on a Wednesday night or the invite to a Friday evening power hour. Go to the football games, take in a play at the Bauer, and kiss the boy you like if he wants to kiss you back. It’ll all be over soon enough.
I’ll share my secrets and try to have you learn from my mistakes, kid, but it’s your time now.