Senior Send-off: A love letter to my first-year self

Abby Pluff and her very best friend Bridget Early, staring lovingly into each others’ eyes. Photo by Julian Cirnigliaro.



Right now you’re seventeen. You can’t vote or drink or rent an apartment. Lottery tickets? Also no. 

I know you feel lost and scared. College is overwhelming, Ross Hall is hot and humid — and stinky — and sometimes you feel like you made a massive mistake moving away from home earlier than you had to. 

Please, please hang in there. You have so much to look forward to. I’ll even give you a sneak peek:

You’re going to learn to be honest with yourself. You’re going to realize that you have zero, and I mean zero, idea who you are. But that’s okay, because you’re going to go on a journey and you’re going to find a person inside of you that you are so proud to be. 

You’re going to fall in love with your body. I know that sounds impossible. You’re going to stop being so concerned about how it looks or what size it is and you’re going to begin to thank it for all of the places it carries you and all of the things that it allows you to do.

You’re going to dye your hair crazy colors, sometimes colors you’re not even sure you like, just because you can. And you’re going to get stared at in public. Like, so many times. But that’s okay, because you’ll stop wanting to melt into the ground every time someone looks your way. 

Instead, you’re going to speak up for yourself. You’re going to answer questions in class, set boundaries and learn how to interact with people, no matter the situation. You’re going to find your passions and speak up loud and proud about what you believe in. People won’t always like it, but you’ll learn to live with it because you’re brave enough to stand for what matters. 

You’re going to get so many tattoos. Girl. You’ll love them so much. You’ll finally feel beautiful, like a walking art gallery. Once again, people will stare. Once again, you won’t care. 

I can’t even begin to tell you about the people you’ll meet. People that make you happy you’re alive, people that make you laugh until you cry, people who finally understand you for exactly who you are. And guess what? They’re going to love you regardless, in spite of the things you don’t love about yourself. Maybe even because of those things.

In fact, they’re going to love you even more the more ‘you’ you get. They’re going to love the silly jokes you make and the nerdy things you like and the way you stop to face the sun every time it comes out. Oh, yeah — you still do that. Some things never change. 

They’re going to love that you can rap every verse to every Lil Wayne song that exists and that you quote Twilight at the most inopportune moments. Some of them will even love your Wint-o-mint addiction. 

Speaking of addictions — good luck with the caffeine problem, dude. It’s gonna drain your bank account. Maybe try to chill with the bean juice after 4 p.m. or something?

You’re going to realize that the little things are the things that matter, and that, despite being the biggest introvert to walk the earth, people are your favorite thing. 

You’re going to fall in love, fall out of love and fall back in love with a billion people and places and things. You’re going to realize that you love love, no matter what kind, and that leading every decision you make with love for yourself and others is the only way to be truly at peace. 

You’re also going to lose people and things that matter so much to you. You’re going to get up and keep going, though, even when it feels like you can’t. Because like I said before, you’re so, so brave. 

When things get tough, there are a couple of things that I want you to remember: 

A thirty minute run can fix almost anything.

When you need help, ask for it. Life’s no good on your own.

Write papers at least four days before the deadline.

If it can’t be changed, there’s no use in worrying about it.

Go to bed on time. You’re useless after 11 p.m.

When things are uncomfortable, that’s your intuition telling you that a boundary you’ve set for yourself is being crossed. 

If you’re not sure you’ll achieve something, try anyway. The worst thing that could happen is you have to try again.

Love yourself first.

If people aren’t nice, “P*ss On ‘Em.” Thank your PawPaw for that one.*

*Don’t actually pee on them, it’s a metaphor!

I’m so proud of you. You have so much sunshine coming in the next four years.




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