Monday, August 6, 2012

A letter to my 2007 self

If you're a frequent reader you know this isn't a journal-type blog. Because
a) this blog is all about you and
b) I'm not that exciting. 

However - since I've been blogging since 2010, I feel like we're real friends now. And as my friend, I needed to vent. My journal is sitting next to my laptop right now, but it just doesn't feel like enough. I needed to talk to you.

I just finished my 5th Jack Kent Cooke scholar conference. I won the $110,000 JKC scholarship in 2007, and every year since then I have attended the conference where we meet other scholars, learn, and have fun. This is my last one as I graduated with my M.Ed this summer. It's over. And there is something about the things we do over and over again every year (e.g. Christmas) that make us reflect on the passage of time and how it changes us.

So this year at the conference I've had this girl following me around. She has cropped brown hair and bangs, wears a lot of sundresses, and is really unsure where her life is going to go. Her name is Isa Adney, circa 2007.

This year I just keep thinking about who I was in 2007, about to transfer from community college to a four-year university. Excited for the future but deathly terrified of what it would look like, of who Isa circa 2012 would be
Me @ my first JKC conference in 2007 (with friends I miss dearly)
And now I know. And to be perfectly honest, it does feel really good to know. But it wasn't always an easy journey to the knowing, and I still know the learning will go on forever - that's the best part. 

But I can't get this 2007 girl out of my head. I so desperately wish I could go back in time and tell her some things. So since I can't do that (unless using my awesome networking skills I can track down Doc. Brown), I'm going to share the things I want to tell her before she transfers to her four-year university, to you.
  • Don't doubt yourself. You are enough.
  • Don't ever cut your hair above your shoulders again. It is not a good look on you.
  • Also forget about bangs.
  • Even though you feel like you're really busy, you will have the most free time you'll ever have in college. Embrace every unscheduled moment and bask in the things you love.
  • You're going to meet a lot of people your age who are wealthy for the first time. Here is a heads up: Citizens of Humanity are jeans, not a class. 
  • Don't worry if you don't fit in - embrace the character built from being from the lower middle class. 
  • When you leave college, friendships evolve. Facebook will never feel like enough. Soak in their presence and words and laughter. Let it make you better. And never stop trying to meet up again.
  • I know you feel lost now, but remember that this daily struggle, this daily hard work, will pay off. You won't see it for years. But if you keep going you will one day know who you are and what you're doing and have a direction so clear that your pursuits no longer feel like work. 
  • I don't want to give you any hints, because I know you need to figure this out for yourself. But just know, the people you meet and work with every day will set your heart on fire. You will fall in love with something. And you will know who you are. 
  • I know you feel so inadequate, with no clear direction, no clear sense of what the heck you are going to do with your life. Just remember that who you are right now is enough, and that one day you'll look back and be so thankful for that young naive girl who kept believing in her dreams and thought the world was a happy and welcoming and fair place. You'll find the injustices you discover just add logs to your fire. And you'll find that you'll miss this. 
Thank you so much for reading this blog and being on this journey with me (I'm talking to you now, not my 2007 self, I'm not crazy I promise). I hope in a few years you will be able to look on your 2012 self with fondness and gratitude. I hope that too. 

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