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I don’t know what I’m doing either

guest column

Advice from a washed up senior who is just very recently getting her shit together, written in no particular order.

  1. Download all of Adobe Suite right now. They give it to us for free. Watch the LinkedIn Learning tutorials for it. We get those for free as well.
  2. Be happy for your friends when they get the internship of their dreams. Be happy for the classmates who took a gap year to hike the Appalachian Trail. Pronounce it Appalachia. Be happy for the people who did PWaves. Be happy for the kid who got the Fullbright. Their gain is not your loss. Don’t ever think that it’s a zero-sum game.
  3. Apply to Camp Kesem. No one has ever regretted it.
  4. Who you know matters, but not in the bullshit networking kind of way. Okay, maybe a little bit in the bullshit networking kind of way. But mostly in a way that is so mind numbingly personal that you’ll be forced to see the parts of yourself you don’t like and confront them in the friends you love so dearly. 
  5. Notice when you feel good. We didn’t evolve to live like this. Our brains developed to seek out danger, to fixate on our worst feelings. Outwit your instincts. 
  6. You will be embarrassed, but you won’t trip down the entire flight of stairs in Griffith Theater during a silent quiz in your 150-student Intro to Public Policy lecture. You will not be wearing jean shorts at the time. Your young, charismatic professor with the eyebrow piercing will not ask if you’re okay over the loudspeaker. You will not realize after getting up that the question you were going to ask is obsolete.
  7. Take meds if you need them. Lexapro changed my life.
  8. Read Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. Read it again. Make your friends read it. Earmark the chapters that you think they need to read twice.
  9. Notice how many white people are in your class. Notice how many cis people are in your class. Notice how many men are in your class. Notice who gets called on, who talks the longest, who interrupts.
  10.  You’ll get too drunk and make a fool of yourself. You’ll get too high and make a fool of yourself. You might have a brief poppers phase. It doesn’t matter. Just make sure it doesn’t interfere with the big stuff. If your roommates ever bring it up to you, don’t get defensive. Anyone who cares enough to be concerned is a good friend. Listen to them.
  11. In healthy amounts, shit talking is useful and therapeutic. Just make sure you’re complimenting people behind their backs too. 
  12. Some of the most incredible people I know have the shittiest parents I’ve ever heard of. Try and forgive them for the hurt they caused you and resolve never to hurt your kids in the same way. Understand that forgiveness is not absolution.
  13. Kiss people, but only people who make you feel better about yourself.
  14. People here are really fucking cool. They’re really fucking cool in a way you didn’t anticipate. The most personable guy in your sketch comedy group, the one from New Jersey, whose sweet mom you met briefly, was a champion chess player. He has a girlfriend now. Ask him about her. He sounds so happy.
  15. Your career is not going to be what you think it’s going to be. My friend’s dad rebuilt his life from the ground up at 40. He is her hero and by all standards a wild success. You have time.
  16. For the love of God, Flunch someone.
  17. Please treat your body well. Punishing it will not make you feel better. You will gain weight and you will lose it and you will not be fundamentally changed. Try, and I mean sobbing on your dorm room floor try, I mean therapeutic run in the rain try, I mean Cookout after your club meeting try, to give it love at every point. It brought you here and for that you must be grateful.
  18. You can’t really send a song to someone platonically. You know this.
  19. It will be the highlight of your day to see the girls you sat with at Marketplace on campus. Ask them to lunch. Actually follow through on it.
  20. Play the boy you’re hooking up with the Humpty Dance by Digital Underground. Show him the music video. Tell him how your dad loves that song, tell him how it’d blast through your house way too loud on a Saturday morning. This summer you will be stuck in standstill traffic on I-95, and you’ll look over and see him in the car next to you. You’ll say hi and laugh at the odds of this. You’ll be glad you guys shared so much with each other. You’ll hope you’re both better off for it.
  21. Keep a Libra bitch in your life.
  22. The words “date function” shouldn’t matter to you at 24. Don’t let them.
  23. You will get better and you will get worse and you will get better again. Remember that you will get better again. Write it down and put it on your doorway so you see it as you’re rushing to your 10:15. 
  24. Please, please, please double check your alarms the night before registration. If you don’t, pray that your friend two rooms over will assume that you overslept and wake you up just in time. You still owe her for that.
  25. Don’t forget to like and sha—I’m kidding, Jesus Christ, imagine if I ended with that. No. Just take the pieces of this you like and throw away whatever you disagree with. I don’t know what I’m doing either.

Leah Somerville is a Trinity senior. 


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