A letter to my past self

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Photo by Skyler Chun

The world will be in utter chaos, yet in utter stillness at the same time.

To past self: The person I was just two years ago as an incoming first-year student at Marquette. When I think of my past self, I think of my elementary, and sometimes middle school days. I never considered writing to the person I was at the point in my life that still feels like just yesterday.

The reason this “past self” feels so current is because of how quickly the time has passed throughout these last two transformative years. College is going to start strong: You will meet amazing people, your brain will be flexed in ways you didn’t think it could be and your first moments as a college student in Milwaukee will excite you for the rest.

Enjoy these first months and semesters at Marquette, but brace yourself for what is to come soon after. Second semester of freshman year will bring some of the hardest challenges you may ever have to experience in your life. I am not writing to scare you, but rather to prepare you. Just like every other human on planet Earth, it will be a very difficult time in your life.

I can hear your mind itching with the “Well, what happens?” thoughts and emotions that would naturally come with a tease like this letter! I am not telling here, but once you see that first news report you will know what is to come. Hint hint, you’ll be enjoying a microwave meal on the futon of your dorm when FOX6 breaks the news to you. 

The world will be in utter chaos, yet in utter stillness at the same time. Persevere like you know how to and keep up hard work in the chaos, but relax in the stillness. During the moments of chaos, pray and hope for the best for the people around you. Be grateful for your well-being along with that of your family and friends. During the times of stillness, explore the nature around you. Go outside and spend time in the fresh, open air that the Lord has given us on Earth. You will also come out of this with a few new healthy habits and hobbies formed.

How did that last sentence start out? You will come out of this. And that you will.

Time will feel ever so slow in the present moments that you experience during this catastrophe. You will experience moments of grief and have thoughts about nothing ever being the same again. However, you will make the most out of the moments that you are given — good or bad — that, in retrospect, will make it appear as though it flew by. As I create this note to you now, I can excitedly say that life is returning to what it once was. You are back to the place you called home two years ago, back to school, back to friends, back to living.

You will be faced with the internal question: Do you believe last the 15 months of your life were wasted? Live through this time graciously, so that you can confidently answer “No, it wasn’t” once its finally over. Although, sitting here today, I still bounce back and forth with my answer.

As I write a letter to my past self from just two years ago, my biggest piece of advice: Do not let this time be wasted. Every breath you inhale during this time is still a sign of life, and the time you have on Earth to live. Honor the tragedy but persevere: You will come out of this.

This story was written by Jaiden Schueller. She can be reached at jaiden.schueller@marquette.edu.