1. Moving to a new city doesn’t mean you get to reinvent yourself.
No matter how hard you try to avoid who you were yesterday, it will catch up to you, and it will define your college experience. Putting on this act of who you think the world wants you to be will only lead to you causing yourself years of damage and ruining relationships you thought you’d have forever. You can only be you; be a better version of yourself.
2. Your sexuality doesn’t define you.
I know you were taunted for years for being gay in the small town you grew up in. I know you don’t think being gay jives with who you are as a hockey player and an athlete. The fact that the only gay friend you had committed suicide does not mean that that is the only answer to being gay. There is a whole other world beyond those county lines, please hold on long enough to experience it.
3. You will screw up friendships. A lot of them.
You’ll know how it feels to have true friends, and you’ll experience the pain of knowing that you single-handedly ruined most of those relationships. You’ll ask for forgiveness, but it will be too late. You’ll spend nights agonizing, desperately wishing to be able to go back in time and treat your fellow freshmen as well as they’d treated you. This will become one of your biggest regrets.
4. Depression will cripple you.
Your past will catch up to you. Hard. You will skip lecture after lecture. You won’t be able to get off of the couch. By the time it’s all said and done, you’ll have gained 60 pounds. You’ll consider dropping out, and ask yourself why you even bothered coming to college in the first place. You will feel like your life has no meaning, but it does. Once you discover that meaning, waking up every day will no longer be the worst thing that could happen to you.
5. People will talk about you, just as they did back home.
You’ll always make a great conversation topic. And not always in a good way. You’ll hear terrible things being said about you, and will fly into a subtweeting rage. You’ll say meaner things back, and continue the cycle. This won’t help your cause. Keep your head up (and your stick on the ice), and handle these people the way your parents taught you. Don’t get even, get better.
6. You will learn all of these lessons.
You’ll be sitting in your room in England during your year abroad, and you’ll think of all these things you could’ve done differently. You’d give anything to be able to rewind back to when your parents pulled away from your dorm for the first time and do it all over again. This is part of growing up. You’ll regret the things that had to happen for you to become the person that you are today, but looking in the mirror and liking what you see for the first time is worth it. You’ll meet the people that you are meant to surround yourself with, and who love you for who you are. So buckle up and enjoy the ride, because it’ll be over before you know it.