And so begins another chapter in the Raw household. The oldest and her mom have started driving to Washington to move her to college. Kiddok starts orientation at the end of the week and freshman year is upon us. It was a tough start to the morning. The girls all had to say good-bye, and the realization that it will be 4 months before we see her again in the flesh has hit some of us quite hard.
And while we’re all a little teary-eyed, we all know it will be okay. Nerves are in play for most of us. (Her sisters aren’t nervous, but I’m guessing all 3 parents and Kiddok are all a bit nervous). I have lots of advice, and didn’t want to make you sit through it… (and see eyes roll in the back of your head from boredom).
I know that you will be okay one way or the other. Things will work as planned, or not, but they will work. And, while heartache and joy are very much a part of your future, I wish you more joy than heartache.
1. Be nervous. Do it anyway. When you made the call to go out west, it was your heart and head combined. Just because now we’re all a little weepy, it doesn’t make the original choice a bad one.
2. Once you get there, jump in with both feet. Doesn’t mean you have to rush a sorority or anything that’s not you, but don’t sit holed up in your room hoping someone will ask you to do something. Go, do, ask, put yourself out there. It can be hard (incredibly so if you are introverted), but everyone is trying to figure it out, so put yourself out there.
3. Remember we’re all proud of you. Even when we tell you we miss you, it’s not a guilt trip. We can simultaneously miss you and want you to be happy where you are.
4. Remember we still love you, and would like to hear from you. Be thankful for technology. You can Skype your sisters, dogs, and cat. You can text (in all kinds of forms) your parents (even the third one). If you can’t Skype, sometimes, just send a text that says “can’t talk now, on the way to class, but love you.” Man you’d be a heroine then. Having said that, don’t spend all your time talking to us. Spend more of it with your peers.
5. Do something you’ve never done and is outside your comfort zone. You may find you hated it, you may find you loved it. You never know. Take a class or two for fun. You might as well. It will help keep things interesting in the havoc of finding, and closing in on your major. Find a new club, sport, group, activity. Join the ones that are more familiar, too, but branch out a bit. If friends offer to teach you something new, go and do. Whether it’s learning a card game or a crazy sport or finding a place to hear beatnik poetry, just go and do. (Sensing a theme, here yet?)
6. Get your stuff done. Figure out how to get your studying, papers, work/study, classes, etc done, and done right. That really is a big chunk of why you are out there. So, you know, succeed at that. But don’t forget to play.
7. If you go to a party, cover your glass and keep your hand on it at all times. I wish I didn’t have to say that, and it’s not fair that I do, but, I’d rather you were a bit hyper-vigilant, and never went through some of the heartache that waaaayyy to many freshman do, than pretend the risk isn’t there.
8. Speak up in class. You are meant to be heard. But you know what, listen, too. Your professors are there to help in guidance, your classmates are there finding their way, too. So, remember, it’s a give and take. Have fun, argue, but leave any bad feelings out of it. Argue with enough respect that you could have lunch afterwards with the antagonist.
9. If you go out with friends, never ever leave one behind.
10. If you drink, remember that it’s really easy to set a limit when you are sober, and much harder to keep to that limit once you are no longer sober. (I’m not advocating you drink. Really, I’m not.)
11. Find a place to study. Whether its your room, the library, the cafe (on or off campus), a study lounge, whatever… Figure out your right study habits and do it.
12. Make friends with people who counter your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t only make friends with people just like you, no one grows that way. But finding people who stretch you will only make you stronger later.
13. I know you will roll your eyes. But please – find some physical activity you like to do. Between sitting in class, sitting to study, sitting with friends, etc, you will sit so very much… I don’t care if it’s trying Irish dance, walking in the woods (be safe), swimming, intramural sports… Please find something to do here. It will help your studying. Really.
14. Grow and learn. Do and try. Be smart, be silly. Listen to and with your heart. Be proud and humble. Be willing to teach and willing to learn. Ask for help. Figure it out yourself. Do crazy stuff, but well, not so crazy you’ll flat out regret it. Venture off the path once in a while. Have fun. Learn something.
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.