A letter to my first year self

Dear me,

It’s late August, and you’re about to move into your dorm room. The van (or big purple box on wheels, as you call it) is packed, the family is nostalgic. You see the bright light coming from your window, and you know your next big adventure is starting. You have this weird attachment to the smell of fall; it means change is coming. Everything is steeped in potential and chance, these next months are yours to shape however you see fit. That being said, there are some things you should know…

Go to your 9 am class. It’s worth it. Green tea will help ease the pain of early wake up times.


Get to know your profs and ask questions along the way – they’ll be more willing to help you as the year goes on.

You will soon realize your siblings are the best friends you’ll ever have. You’ll also still want your mommy at 20 years old, and your dad will drive to see you – just ask.


Not everyone is going to like you. You can’t change that. That doesn’t mean you should be anything less than courteous in return – kill it with kindness, girl. You teach people how to treat you.

Set up your residence phone right away so you have a Toronto number, or else the delivery guys will glare at you for having a 613 area code and your food will possibly disappear.


Weekends scream take-out!
Weekends scream take-out!

You will have to be brave and strong at times, because you’re living on your own and some tough stuff is headed your way…but there’s no need to be a martyr. Know the difference. It’s okay to say that you’re not okay.

Call your grandparents more often. They love you lots, give great advice, and know you better than you think. Plus, the more you visit, the more chocolate brownies are likely to appear in your diet.

You will meet people who will change your perspective, show you new experiences. New friends will challenge you, giving you the courage and inspiration to try umpteen new things.


Some of the amazing people I met in first year!
Some of the amazing people I met in first year!

It’s okay to measure how well you’re doing on the treadmill by how many 80’s power ballads you get through. Just remember to save “Eye of the Tiger” for going back up the stairs to campus!

Just a heads up – you will get your heart stomped on. Don’t let it shake you, timing is everything! Trust the process…and keep trusting people. Everything is an experience.


You will bust your ankle this year, just by walking…because let’s be honest, your nickname ain’t Murphy’s Law for nothing. USE THE DAMN CRUTCHES.

Never put your student card in your back pocket – you will flush it down the toilet more than once. Explaining this to Student Services will be embarrassing and will not decrease the replacement fee.

Your Don can be the best resource – don’t be afraid to knock on her door and tell her when you’re less than fine.

Residence life! E House Hilliard :)
Residence life! E House Hilliard 🙂

Add a super dorky key chain to your lanyard so everyone will know who the keys belong to when you (inevitably) drop them in the lecture hall.

You think you have it figured out. You think you know what you want to do with your life. Newsflash: you will change your mind 4 times before the end of the year.

You will soon learn that you have nothing figured out. Spend your time collecting experiences, not blueprints for how the next years of your life will play out. With a little creativity, you’ll be making your own opportunities.

Taking two new friends who didn't understand baseball to a Jays game was certainly an experience!
Taking two new friends who didn’t understand baseball to a Jays game was certainly an experience!

I know you’re crazy competitive with yourself right now – it’s okay to be mediocre for a while. Take a chill pill.                                                                                                                                        

You will get an A on the paper you cried over in the library. Don’t be so hard on yourself! Remember to pace your efforts, breathe deeply, do your best.

Wash your pub night stamp off your hand before you go to sleep or it will end up on your forehead the next morning.

TAME pub night
TAME pub night

Do your dishes. And your laundry. File your paperwork. Put lids on things. Empty your garbage. You’re a messy person, admit it – then deal.

The nachos at The Underground will sustain your soul (and stomach) – get hooked on them early.

Thank your lucky stars you’re going to Glendon, because you will score the sweetest summer gig, and it will require you to work en français!

"I'm a tour guide!" Atop Mt. Royal, Montréal.
“I’m a tour guide!” Mt. Royal, Montréal.

It’s okay to have roots and wings. You can love where you’re from AND be excited about where you’re going! You will have the greatest assortment of people beside you at every step of the way. You are loved and valued and cared about. Don’t ever doubt that.

Keep an open mind and heart, and the rest will fall into place.


– K


2 thoughts on “A letter to my first year self

  1. O
    h,my dearest Kiera – as you embark on your 20th birthday this week – you are a very wise and mature person-and the insight you have gained this year is so very deep! What an incredible human being you are! Don’t forget to keep writing – you are so very, very good at that too! Love ya, dolly!!! 143

  2. Messy person… lol

    This article is really amazing Kiera. The first years probably won’t listen to it – they’ve got to figure it out themselves- but they really should 😉

    – #1 (you know who I am)

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