This post: To My Teen Heading to College, Let These Lessons Sink In Before You Go
Written by: Morgan Hill
I only have limited time left with my son to get him ready for college…and then the world. So, lately, I’ve found myself rushing like a mad mom to instill a few last-minute lessons and values that may not have fully sunk into his brain.
Sure, I’m getting a few eye-rolls. Of course, he’s whining and saying things like, “Okaaaay, mom! I get it! I’ve heard this all before.” But sorry, son.
You’re just going to have to put up with me while I sift through all these racing thoughts looming in my head. So… to my teen heading to college, sit down and let’s chat a while. There are a few things I need you to understand before you go.
To My Teen Heading to College, Let These Lessons Sink In Before You Go
1. Recognize Your Privilege
Getting food delivered, access to my subscription TV accounts, your own room, the car keys when you want to go to your friend’s house, attending an excellent school. Every kid should be grateful for these privileges. But are you? Sure, I hear you say “thanks” and all, but I’m not sure you realize just how fortunate you really are. Before you venture off to college, we’ll be sitting down soon for yet another hard talk about everything you should be thankful for.
2. It’s Not All About You
Truth be known, you’ve been the center of my universe since the day I first held you in my arms. But you need to know that when you go to college and start adulting in the real world, the earth won’t revolve around you. You need to be thinking less of what the world can do for you and more about what you can do for this world and the people in it.
3. Your Body Won’t Be This Invincible Forever
Listen up, son. Cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, chips and french fries aren’t doing your body an ounce of good. You eat like a marathoner the night before a big race, loading up on carbs and sports drinks. Sure, you might be able to get away with crummy eating habits for a few more years, but eventually, your body is going to pay the price. Start eating healthy now. Trust me, you’ll thank me in a few years.
4. Don’t Let Social Media Suck the Life Out of You
Although you use your phone to talk with friends for hours, you also spend way too much time melting your brain on social media. You could be out with your friends doing instead of watching. I need you to realize now that life is short and so very precious. Look up, son. Don’t waste it looking at a screen.
5. Don’t Jump Off the Bridge, Too
I’ve been pounding this one into your head since you were in elementary school, but I feel compelled to remind you again. You don’t have to follow the crowd. You don’t have to cave in to fit in.
When your friends have a sketchy idea, back away, baby. Trust your instincts. Your life is far too precious to take any unnecessary (or downright stupid) risks. And, you may not realize it just yet, but you’re not nearly as invincible as you think you are. Please… give this mama’s heart the reassurance it needs that you’ll (at least try to) make good choices.
6. Life Isn’t Fair… Plain and Simple
You may not get the grade you deserve. You may not get the job or internship even though you’re qualified. That’s life. There’s nothing cut and dry or black and white about life. There’s a ton of “grey area” that doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Just keep pushing forward, don’t let it get you down (for too long), and remember, you don’t need anyone else to validate your worth.
7. Don’t Procrastinate… Just DO IT
Don’t wait to study for that big test until the last minute. Don’t wait to do your laundry until Sunday at 10 p.m. Don’t put off asking out that cute girl or guy down the hall for a date. Don’t procrastinate applying for that cool internship or joining that club that sounds fun. Don’t say to yourself, “I’ve got time.” Get ahead of life. Don’t chase it. One day, you’ll look back and be so happy you dove in and just did it.
8. Some Friendships Will Last a Lifetime, Others Will Fade in the Distance
Not all friendships are meant to last. You’re learning and growing and maturing and changing, and so are your friends. You may move in the same direction in life or you may head in oppositive directions. Every friendship has value whether it lasts a few months or years. It’s all about surrounding yourself with the right friends at the right time in your life.
9. Always Be a Giver (Not a Taker)
There are takers in this world and then there are givers. Be a giver. Whether you go out of your way to help an elderly person bring groceries to their car, you volunteer your time for a cause you’re passionate about, or you give freely of yourself and time to a girl or guy you care about – never stop giving. I can promise you this, everything you give always has a way of coming back to you twofold. Make the world a better place just by being you.
10. You Are Enough
As a teenager, you have so much growing up and maturing to do, and so much self-discovery yet to come. On your life journey, you’ll find you have strengths and weaknesses, (we all do). But through it all, just know that you are enough. You don’t have to be good at everything. You don’t have to get perfect grades. You don’t have to gauge your worth on the opinions or approval of others. Focus on making yourself proud because, in the end, that’s the only opinion that really matters.
There are so many lessons I want to share with you before you leave, so many tidbits of advice my heart is aching to share. I know I can’t fit them all in and I realize you may not even want to hear them, but just know I’m here for you.
Through this adjustment period as your start college, through the college years you have ahead of you, through your young adult years, and all the wonderful years beyond that. I’m here to lean on should you need me, here to offer advice should you ask for it, and here to stand beside you should you need a friend. Always remember…
No matter where this life of yours takes you, you can always count on me.
About Morgan Hill:
Morgan Hill is an essayist and humorist. She has written for many online and print publications including Insider, Your Teen Magazine, Revel and MASK Magazine. She is the mother of freshman and senior sons in high school. When not writing, she can be found at flea markets, in her garden, photographing architecture, taking cooking classes or eating the stinkiest cheese she can find. You can also find her on Twitter @MorganHWrites or Instagram @MorganHillWriter
If you enjoyed reading, “To My Teen Heading to College, Let These Lessons Sink in Before You Go,” here are a few other posts you might want to check out: