Hi slightly-younger-yet-totally-different Kimiko,
I’m imagining you & Mom & Dad waiting in line at Bed Bath & Beyond in Mountain View exactly one year ago. It was the first day you all began the move-in process after flying in early that morning. Behind you are other families with Stanford gear on, making similar purchases -- shower caddy, hangers, sheets. Everyone is eyeing one another, certain each group has a 2020 kid in it, but no one is actually talking. This will be the first and last time you don’t make friends with anyone, old and young, who loves the same place you do.
Believe it or not, here you are, the summer after your frosh year, and you didn’t flunk out. In fact, you are smiling as you write this because all of your worries seem ridiculously silly now. So let me assure you -- everything will work out.
Here is what I wish you had known as a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed / completely terrified mess of a frosh:
1. I can promise you that you are about to experience a million different experiences that will change you for good. Do you remember Mom telling you that you’ll never be the same person as you are now, just as you were about to leave home? She’s right.
2. Some of your fondest moments will end up being so stereotypically college, like eating Top Ramen and drinking Redbulls with your roommate and calling it ‘lunch’. Others will be so ridiculously extraordinary, like shaking hands with Albert Bandura. The beautiful thing is that soon you will learn to appreciate both memories so dearly, falling in love with the commonplace and the exceptional.
3. Don’t even pretend like you have it all figured out. Watch your friends build their 4 Year Plans™ and giggle. Instead, take some time to breathe and explore. Your biggest challenges stem from your biggest overreactions, so chill.
4. ...but do be prepared: to fall in and out of love; to call home when it doesn’t feel necessary (it is); to walk into a class completely unprepared and certain you’re the least intelligent one in the room... & more! It will be okay, I swear.
5. Listen to your body and sleep. I repeat, SLEEP. Your grades aren’t worth your mental and physical health a million times over.
6. Remember that the world is still continuing and bursting all around you as you are sucked into midterms and parties and the new. And remember, the world will continue and burst all around you when you leave this place, too, so don’t forget everything--and everyone--who kept you afloat before you became a Stanford Student™ absorbed by the Stanford Bubble™ (you’ll learn more about this later).
7. You’re more than enough, even when you fail. Learn from it instead of getting hung up on it.
8. Let your frustrated tears, heartbroken tears, and happy tears fall; they’re inevitable.
9. Finally, remember that you’re eighteen in your prime. Every stumble, trip, crash and burn is going to hurt, yet during this next year you’ll get back up every time. Everything ahead of you is everything your future self is grateful for, so let it happen.
Class of 2020