It has been a long Summer.
This was the first Summer that I have ever spent away from home. Which came on the heels of my first year in college; a year filled with many surprises, disappointments, & growth.
I have spent the last three months sitting in a class room ripe with oppressive heat and laughter, begrudging learning Latin. I have slowly begun learning how to be an adult and moved between four dorms in three months. I have made new friends in different cities and gotten rid of old ones, starting studying new topics for the upcoming semesters and reviewed vital skills from high school. I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder this Summer and decided that my current college was one I’d prefer to leave. There were nights filled with drunken escapes from cop-crashed parties and studying and falling asleep within friend’s & lover’s arms. It’s not what I imagined I’d be doing as an adult, but it’s the life I decided to lead. And it’s one that I am thus far, proud of.
But I have had a short Summer vaction; two months filling a college requirement and a little less than a month of “play”, my summer vacation has finally started and is threatened to end just as quickly. I am sad to see the Summer fade away and nervous for my sophomore year to begin.
I had bought Sylvia Plath’s unabridged journals in my junior year of high school. I skipped around for a ton of entries and unfortunately related to quite a few entries myself. But there was always one post that stuck out to me the most: 1) her 10 back to school commandments.
I always read through it every few months and feel a pang of inspiration to write my own. And given my level of anxiety for starting college in two weeks, I have I decided to follow in Plath’s steps and write myself a Back to School Commandments list in order to psyche myself up for some new experiences and (missteps).
- Stop comparing yourself to others. It leaves you drained and depressed and academically suicidal. It’s fine if you’re not the best at everything on your first go & it’s impossible to be great at everything, so don’t try to be.
- Let things happen naturally. Whether it be a romantic relationship or a new work acquaintanceship, promotion or any achievement of some kind. When things are forced, the innate value of it is lost.
- GET OUT & EXPLORE. You’re always depressed when indoors for too long. And you’re certainly not gaining any new perspectives or life experiences couped up inside. Plus, you need the exercise.
- Don’t be afraid to be a bit of an introvert. Why don’t you make yourself a priority? True friends understand you might need a bit of solace; fake ones won’t. And for everyone whose made themselves a priority in your life, don’t be afraid to take a much-needed step back.
- And as a continuation of your last point. Don’t be afraid to march to the beat of your own drum. Often your anxiety attempts to convince you that you are unlovable, too eccentric, too loud, too you. But you wouldn’t be this way if you were not meant to be. So march on.
- Leave your comfort zone often. Your first semester will be hard; it will be packed with things you might only be vaguely familiar with if at all. You will be in student organizations in which you have no prior experience and it will not be the sign of the times if you aren’t comfortable.
- Keep up with writing. If there’s one regret you’ll have later on, it’s that you haven’t documented moments that were of importance to you. When you were younger, you could be found writing all the time and you enjoyed it. You owe it to yourself to have a least one relaxing hobby.
- Don’t be afraid to be kind. Even when the Freshmen are obnoxious, try your best to be the role model you wanted to see last year. When the squirrels steal your lunch, do not yell and throw a tantrum maniacally. Smile and offer to help; buy extra apples to throw the campus squirrels; do not unnecessary fuss and stress out.
- Never waver on your goals.
- Stay weird.
- Attitude is everything. Being a negative Nancy never really gets you anywhere and if we’re honest, despite your hardships, your life could be infinitely worse. It costs nothing to be positive and its healthy for you.
- Nothing is life or death, until it is. So live a little.
- STAY HYDRATED AND EAT MORE VEGETABLES. For the love of god, drink at least one bottle of water.