Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

A letter to freshman Madeline

Hey, Kiddo,

I see you. You just returned from your last biology exam, and you have officially completed your freshman year. 

You pulled an all-nighter studying for that exam, and you felt like you had it all down. But when you sat down to take it, your eyes went blurry and your mind went blank.

You’ll end up with a B – not too bad, but not what you want. 

Now, you sit in your bed and look around at your packed-up room. While everyone around you cries at how badly they’ll miss Miami over the summer, you sit and reflect on the worst year of your life.

Nobody could accuse you of not trying; you followed all the corny recommendations your parents’ friends gave you.

You “put yourself out there” and applied for things outside your comfort zone. You kept an open mind to potential friends and took any opportunity you could to socialize. You asked a guy you barely knew but thought was cute if he wanted to grab coffee sometime.

You got rejected from everything you applied for, you ended the year with a single close friend and the guy you hit on ended up being a dick.

It was a rough start.

Toward the middle of your second semester, though, came a glimmer of hope.

You joined The Miami Student.

At first, it was stressful. You know this. You’ve contemplated quitting many, many times, and I regret to inform you that you will consider it a few more times in the next three years.

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A single text message from your editor, Samantha Brunn – in which she told you she was impressed with your first story – would keep you from throwing in the towel. Re-read that text as many times as you need, but don’t give up.

You’ll grow to love The Student. You’ll make amazing friends there, and you’ll produce work you’re incredibly proud of. Hell, you’ll even become an editor, as laughable as that may sound right now.

You’ll do some other cool things over the next few years, too. You’ll make friends that you love so much, you actually dread breaks because you can’t stand to be apart from them. You’ll write a 70-page honors thesis. You’ll go skydiving.

You’ll fall in love.

I would tell you to stop chasing men who refuse to match your energy, but I know you won’t listen. Besides, putting up with the shitty guys you’ll encounter in the next two years will make it even better when you finally find a good one.

All I’ll say is that, as cheesy as it sounds, you are worthy of love and affection. It’ll take a while, but someone will come along and prove it to you – I promise. 

Also, I won’t spoil it for you, but my previous advice about not quitting The Student is very important for finding your love-interest.

You’ll have more of those nights that were all too familiar during your first year – those nights when you cry until your eyes burn and lay awake for hours, daydreaming about being anyone other than yourself.

As time passes, though, you’ll become that person you always daydreamed about.

You’ll become the type of student you spent years envying – the type who never shies away from raising their hand in class or going to office hours. You’ll grow to love your body and stop hiding it under oversized t-shirts. You’ll stop giving a shit whether people think you’re annoying or overbearing.

You’ll finally give up your stubbornness and get on medication, and it’ll be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself.

I wish you could see us now. You’d hardly recognize us – in a good way.

Don’t give in to those dark thoughts that sometimes overtake your brain. You have so many years of love, growth and experiences ahead of you that I promise you won’t want to miss.

Remember what mom told you right before you moved in for your first year at Miami? Anyone on this campus would be lucky to know you.

She was right.

I am lucky to know you. You’ve made me the person I am today, and I can’t thank you enough.

All my love,

Your future self

@madphabes

phabymr@miamioh.edu

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