A letter to myself that I wish I had read before I moved out and went to off to university. To be completely honest, I wouldn’t have listened anyway because I’m stubborn but it’s the thought that counts.
Right now you are probably putting off packing because you don’t want to have to argument with your mum again about how many books you can take down to your new apartment, (I’m going to go ahead and spoil the ending of said fight, it’s 3 books but you won’t make time to read them anyway). Right now you are probably scared, but instead of admitting your fear you are masking it behind confidence that is mostly bluff from all the coffee you have been drinking that day (you need to cut back on that addiction now or else it’s going to mess with your sleeping patterns).
Nobody is going to tell you how scary it is to move out. They will talk about the freedom, the midnight snacking because you are an adult and can eat whatever you want damnit. They will talk about the goon sacks and the parties and the hot exchange students. They will talk about the great times and the fantastic times, because no one wants to talk about the hard times. Nobody is going to tell you about the nights where you are crying because need your mum to make you lentil soup because your sick. Nobody is going to tell you about the isolation that comes with moving to a new place where you don’t really know anyone. Nobody is going to tell you that you can’t eat pasta and cheese every night either so learn to cook something new. Nobody is going to tell you that adjusting to life without your parents to help and guide you, (no matter how much you insist you don’t need them) is harder than you think.
Moving out is hard. Harder than deciding what clothes to bring down for you to wear to university. Harder than listening to your mum try to teach you the basics of cooking in a 24 hour crash course because you are 17 and still don’t know how to cook sausages. Harder than saving up for the move because all you want to do is buy books and caramel lattes. Harder than trying to figure out how to catch a bus for the first time. Harder than trying to explain to your dog that you are not going to be home for a while.
Adjusting to life without your family and friends is terrifying. You have to make new connections, decide on the person who you want to be. University is the do-over you don’t get in a small town. You can be the cool kid who gets to go to parties, you can be studious and buckle down and study harder than ever or you can do your own thing, be your own person. You can experience new things and make new relationships and then stuff them up. But just know, that it’s okay to fail and that you will have people around you who care about you and will take care of you.
Making new friends is actually not that hard, so stop worrying about it Bee. The best advice that anyone ever gave me was this, “Ask a stranger for something. Whether it be for directions, a pencil or the time, ask them a question. By choosing to answer they are choosing to invest in you, and then you have already done half the work.” Don’t be choosy in o-week. Make as many new friends as you can and then nurture them. You can never have too many friends. And if they don’t work out, that’s okay.
Lean on people. Ask for help when you need help. Call your Aunty when you need to be fed. Ask your mum for some financial aid. Call your Nonna when you feel homesick. Ask your friends to buy you milk when you are sick and hangover and can’t get out of bed to go to Woollies. There is no need to suffer or to live on $1.85 for three weeks. Don’t do that. I mean it. It’s awful and no matter what anyone says do not mix rice and cheese for a poor man’s meal. It does not taste good. At all.
Budgeting is essential and I know that you are going to skip this paragraph but before you do, just know this, you can’t eat clothes or books. You need to have a plan. Sit down and work out how much money you need for food, entertainment and transport. And get a job. Don’t turn your nose up at Maccas for the dodgy place down the road that won’t pay you properly. Also don’t blow all your money on coffee. Seriously, don’t do that. It’s a bad idea Bee.
Pretending to be an adult when you are still 17 and about three months ago you still had to ask permission to go to the toilet is a crazy transition. You get to make your own decisions, which can be as liberating as it is terrifying. You get to choose what you are having for dinner. You get to decide whether or not to study. You get to decide how long you can possibly go without washing up. You get to decide whether you are going to pay your phone bill this month or if you are going to ask mum to spot you. You will take time to adjust into this new position. You will make mistakes, be immature, say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing because you are still learning. You are still a kid at the end of the day, but now you just got to pay your rent.
But it’s not all bad, you are going to do so well! You are going to learn so many new things, you are going to blossom into the person you are and you are going to achieve so much at University. You are going to make awesome friends who will let you into their apartment at 3 am because you are stressing. You are going to go to concerts. You are going to drink copious amounts of lattes. You are going to fall in love with Brisbane and the people in it. You are going to have hard times and you are going to have great times, but just know Bee, that it’s okay to be homesick. It’s okay to treat yourself sometimes when TopShop has a sale. It’s okay to get your fruit content only through mango sorbet, (well, according to you it is). It’s okay to be scared about catching public transport in the dark. It’s okay to pat random people’s dogs but just ask permission first. It’s kind of okay to drink your morning coffee out of a measuring jug because you didn’t wash up. It’s okay to be who you are. But don’t let anyone or anything hold you back. Don’t listen to the people who want to watch you fall. Don’t be afraid of trying new things of meeting new people. Don’t try to impress anyone but yourself. Learn to trust people and have faith. Learn to cook things other than pasta. Learn how to catch public transport and learn how to manage your time. Just know that at the end of the day, at the end of the year, at the end of your course, your happiness comes first.
Love who you are Bee and don’t afraid to be the crazy, loud, dog-loving person you are.
p.s Things happen for a reason. (For those of you who checked for my original post script, things change, and people do too.) It is, what it is Bee.