TO: Kassi, September 2013

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Hey Kas, how's it going? 

Currently you are:
01) 18 years of age
02) in a relationship that you have poured your heart and soul into, as you always do
03) preparing to move to Manchester on your own for three years
04) half excited, half petrified

Currently I am:
01) a ripe old 20 years of age
02) In a different relationship that I am pouring my heart and soul into, as I always do
03) in the latter half of my degree, on track for a 2:1
04) still half excited, and still half petrified

Life in the last 18 months has not always been easy for you, and so I want to let you in on a little secret: it's okay to stray from the plan. There is nobody else in the world that knows you better than I do, and so I know full well that your happiness stems from this 'plan' that you have made for your life. Finish school: check. Get into college: check. Leave college with good grades: check. Get into a Russell Group university: check. Have the time of your life at that university: ...this is where that plan starts to become a little hazy around the edges. Although your heart drops to the pit of your stomach whenever you think of moving away to university, you are so excited that you could combust. Yes, moving to another city will be scary, and yes, you'll have to make a whole new group of friends. But guess what? You get to move to another city, and you get to make a whole new group of friends! The thought of the weeks that lay ahead of you fills your heart to the brim with joy, and I'm so happy that you felt that way. Hold onto that for as long as you can.

There is where the but comes in - of course, it couldn't have been perfect. Not drinking was a real struggle for you in first semester. You tried to join in as much as possible, and even managed three/four nights in Fresher's Week, but you had given up almost entirely by the second semester. The wonderful people that you lived with last year made every effort to include you nevertheless, and you need to know that some of them will by your friends for life. Despite having such a positive array of people surrounding you, the loneliness that you felt years before returned, bigger and stronger, ready for a fight. Every night as you lay in bed, questions would float aimlessly around your mind: what am I going to do with the rest of my life? Why am I at university? Why am I studying a degree that I don't even enjoy? Why did I move so far away from my family, the people that I love most in this world? Why is it so hard to keep a long distance relationship from crashing and burning? Why why why why why why why? Eventually, these questions made you numb, and you stopped trying to join in with the others at all. Instead, you locked yourself away in your room.

As I am now reflecting, as the future you, I can definitely see how bad of a move that was. How did you ever think that was going to help, Kassi? If you're sad, speak to somebody about it. If you're lonely, don't spend time on your own. If you're unsure about your degree, do something about it. If you're homesick, try and make Manchester as much of a home that you can. Sitting in the dark under a blanket, sobbing to movies on Netflix, is not going to fix things. It never has done in the past, it won't do now, and I'm preeeeetty sure that it won't do in the future.

Luckily, you realised this. Hallelujah! After two months of feeling sorry for yourself, you got off your backside and made every effort to make your life a happy one. Where you had planned to live the following year scared you - so you changed it. Spending so much time on your own was hurting you - so you changed it. Despising every aspect of your degree was demotivating you - so you changed it (well, tried to, and then decided to stick with Philosophy. Well done for not giving up, though!). Pro-active Kassi is a much better Kassi than depressed Kassi ever could be.

18 months since beginning university, and 18 months away from finishing it, I'm still half excited, yet still half petrified. I'm excited for now: I am in a good place. I have an amazing support group of friends, a boy that makes me happy, a job that I thoroughly enjoy, and my degree doesn't seem to be that bad after all. I am also excited for the future: I finally know what area I want to go into career-wise, and I cannot wait to find out how I spend the rest of my life. But I'm also petrified for now: my degree, although better, is still difficult, and being homesick never really goes away. I am also petrified for the future: what if I don't manage to get a job after university, and all the hard work and dedication that I have put into my degree will have been worthless? Either way, excited or petrified, my life is a never-ending adventure. From you to me, there was a slightly bumpy roller coaster ride, and I don't doubt that the preceding months will be much different. But as long as I remember to choose happiness, not a lot can get in our way, eh Kas? We can do this!

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