For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
Display dv740103
Feb 23 2016
by Haley Young

An Open Letter To Me After Graduation

By Haley Young - Feb 23 2016

Dear Future Me,

Don't forget where you came from. There's excitement in the fact that you're leaving this wonderful, beautiful, amazing place behind - just don't ever forget how wonderful and beautiful and amazing it is. You did so many things here. You met new friends, you took new classes, and you challenged yourself in ways of a personal, physical and professional nature. You grew.

This campus is a part of you now, just like your hometown and high school are. You can't separate yourself from your experience here. You are a million things, and a Badger is one of them - forever, for always. Remember the days walking up Bascom Hill, the nights on State Street, the mornings that came way too early that you spent in lecture halls. Remember the studying and the exams and the knowledge you gained, but more than anything, remember how these years changed you. Remember who you were... and find strength in who you now are.

Because you did it. You survived. You handled the stress, the heartbreaks, and the nights that seemed like they would never end. You interviewed and you failed and you sought help, you worked and you binge-watched Netflix and you were there for your friends. You fell down and you climbed back up, you managed a million different things at once, and you succeeded. You are ready for all that's to come, even if it doesn't always feel like it.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has prepared you for an amazing future, and you need to take advantage of the skills and confidence you now have. Once you were a nervous, word-obsessed freshman who hid in her dorm room more often than not, but you've come far since then. Don't forget that.

Don't let your insecurities get the best of you. Don't let doubts cloud the knowledge you've worked so hard to put into your head. Remember, when things get hard, you deserve to be where you are. You earned this. You earned a degree, you earned a job, you earned lifelong friends. You earned it all.

I'm not quite sure where you'll go from here, but I know it will be even more amazing than your time at Madison was. Don't forget where you came from - but don't lose sight of where you're going.

Lead Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

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Haley Young - University of Wisconsin–Madison

Haley Young is a freshman at the University of Wisconsin Madison and loves everything about being a Cheesehead. Writing is her biggest passion, but she's pretty fond of bad puns and Christmas lights too. You can find out more about her and her work at

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