Dear junior self,
It’s been a very long time since our last conversation, one year in fact. Funny how time goes by, isn’t it? It feels like yesterday you started university and now you’re halfway through your degree. For that reason you need to be extra careful and attentive at this point as many changes are coming your way, but also you will start feeling nostalgic and you will be longing for those easier times long gone.
Starting your third year means that you’ve reached a point in your academic career where you are no longer a novice, but not yet an expert either. You are somewhere in between and that period can be very confusing. Don’t let the confusion get the best of you. Now is the time to take advantage of the situation, to take advantage of the fact that employers are starting to see you as a potential addition to their firms instead of a lost puppy who is wasting their time. Play the fact that you are more likely to catch their attention to your benefit.
Pay attention to all the opportunities you are given and try to join as many workshops, masterclasses and conferences as possible. Those are great ways to meet people and potential employers, especially if you are someone less likely to do well in a speed networking session. But don’t forget to actually talk to them and if someone asks you a question answer it! These environments are often more relaxed and people are paying more attention thus making it more likely to remember you.
Like I mentioned previously, this period can be confusing as well. Now you will have actual opportunities to choose from and you will no longer be dreaming of things that might happen. You have to make decision and those decision will, to a degree or another, affect the rest of your life. In addition, you will start seeing your friends graduating and making decisions for themselves. You might agree with them or you might not. This is going to be difficult and you need to find a way to move on, but also to not let their decisions affect your own. This is without a doubt a turning point in your career and in your life. I am not saying it will the last one and I am also not saying that there is no going back. You will probably be able to mend some things, but not all so choose carefully and don’t lose track of who you really are and what you truly want.
However, there is a bright side as well so I won’t spend the rest of this letter focusing on all the serious or negative things. By the end of the year you will grow thicker skin and you will be less likely to dwell on petty things. Roommates and feuds are things you will no longer think about the next day, you will grow to accept them and ignore them after the fact. You will realise that life is too short to deal with people who are not able to grow up. Furthermore, you will finally realise that there is truly an entire world out there and you will know it is true. It will no longer feel like a line from a movie. Even though this is something that I told you before, now it feel more real than ever.
One last thing that maybe I am including for me-me and not you-me is that even though you will feel like crying when you reach the point I am at, you will also realise, maybe for the first time in your time that you are proud of the person you’ve become, just as proud as I am of you, as weird as that might sound. I wish I could give you a huge hug and send you all the strength I have, but I now know that you won’t need it as you are strong enough on your own.