Dear College Girl,
I see you on campus every day, and as a woman who’s been where you are, lived through it, and gotten over the bitterness, there are a few things I’d like to tell you.
- Enjoy this time in your life when you can spend all day in a t-shirt and the bottoms of your choice. I see you in jeans (my personal preference), skirts and running shorts, and I can tell you that unless you become a gym teacher, you probably won’t get to wear that outfit on a daily basis for much longer. So appreciate it while you can. Wake up in the morning, throw on your sneaks, put that hair in a bun, and be off with you! LOVE the fact that you literally don’t have to change out of your jabambas to go to class. OWN it. Because a day is coming (and that right soon) when you’ll be frantically shopping five minutes before the mall closes for professional shoes that don’t make you want to punch a baby. Oh, college girl, if only I could wear my flip-flops or my tennis shoes to work every day. Hang on to that for as long as possible.
- Enjoy this time in your life when you live, eat, hang out and go to class with your friends. When you leave college, it takes a lot more effort to see these people. It takes even more effort to meet new ones. It can be done, but right now, you are pretty much on top of each other all the time. You couldn’t get away from them if you wanted to. I know because I remember times in college when I wanted to get away from them, and I couldn’t. Take the time you need for yourself, but don’t take for granted the fact that you have all your buddies by your side.
- You are probably not fat. There are, of course, those among us who will slim down as adults and look back on college as their “heavy years,” but the majority of us are just spreading as we age. I look back at pictures of myself from late high school/early college – an era in which I thought I was huge – and WISH I could be that size again. Your tight little buns and perky boobs are just waiting for gravity to find them, and it is going to happen, so college girl, work those tiny shorts while you can because in ten years, you’ll be wearing biker shorts underneath your work skirts to prevent the chub rub.
- College boys are stupid. Ok, maybe not ALL college boys, but I think most of the grown men I know would look back at their college years and agree that they were stupid then. Fair warning: They will always find farting hilarious. I know, I know. I don’t understand it either, but it never changes. It’s like toilet humor is just hard-wired into them. Maybe it comes with the Y chromosome. But all this to say that that boy you’re agonizing over? He’s stupid. If he treats you badly or doesn’t recognize your awesomeness or doesn’t acknowledge you at all, it’s not because there’s something wrong with you. It’s because he’s an idiot.
- You are awesome. You. That other girl is awesome too, but she’s not awesome like you are, and vice versa. If you’re not filling the spot the world holds for you because you’re trying to be someone else, the world is out of whack. Be yourself. We need you.
- “Why?” is a great question. Why do you want that jacket? Why did that person upset you? Why do you feel like you can’t talk to so-and-so about such-and-such? Answering the question every time will help you deal with people in a kinder, more gracious way every time. It will also prevent you from buying a bunch of unnecessary crap (though probably not all of it), and it will help you express yourself and your needs.
- Find non-college students. Be friends with them. Maybe you can babysit for a local family, and maybe they’ll occasionally have you over for dinner. Babies, by the way, are also awesome. Hang out with them whenever you can. They’re cute. They’ll love you. Their parents will love it. Everyone wins.
- Leave campus. Go to the movies, go to the beach, go to a restaurant, go home, go anywhere at least once a month.
- Work that student ID!! College girl, do you know how much free stuff you can get with a college ID? Me neither. Find out. If nothing else, go see as many movies as you can with that bad boy because hoo-boy, they ain’t cheap without one. You can also get reduced rates on travel and sometimes free entrance to museums and zoos and stuff.
- Study abroad. A friend asked me last weekend what I would tell myself if I could go back ten years and talk to 22-year-old me. I said 22 was about the time I started getting things right, but if I could go back and talk to 18-year-old me, I’d tell her to study abroad. It’s my only real regret from college. Do it. Do it now. Go. Seriously. For me.
There’s more we could talk about, but ten is a nice round number, so that’s all for now. If you have any questions, I’d love to have you over for dinner. I don’t have any babies for you to squeeze, but I will let you observe the saggy nature of my buttocks while I cook you fresh foods in natural substances (as opposed to questionable produce in Golden Griddle mystery cooking goo). Let me know if you’re interested.