Dear first year Vanessa,

Dear First Year Vanessa,

This is your future speaking to you. Well, by that I mean, its Fourth Year Vanessa… You know, the person you’re anticipating to be one day. You’ve already done the math; four years from 2010 equals 2014. Four years feels like forever, but soon enough you’ll be expanding your personal structure and creating memories that will last a life time.

It’s an exciting time, I know. You’re on the boarder of something new.  You will come across numerous first time experiences the moment you step foot on campus. You will realize Bishop’s is one a kind and is nothing like Simon Fraser. Aren’t you glad you didn’t stay on the West Coast? Your first day of your practicum will greatly influence your academic decision. Always remember the wise words of Hardy Jackson: Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.

In the years that come, you’ll be exposed to so many different potential possibilities that will sometimes be difficult to untangle. Ask questions to your professors, advisors and work up the courage to speak to the Dean. Don’t panic, it all works out in the final wash. Every March you will experience the summer employment panic that will sometimes leave you with doubts about your education choice. Relax and follow your intuition. Spoiler alert: You’ll spend a summer in a new province working within Public Safety, your dream field. The next following summer of your third year, you will be faced with tough decisions that will test the levels of your comfort zone and a few personal relationships. Don’t worry, V – you will always choose to venture into the unknown. These two employment experiences will drastically change the structure of your path.

Heads up, fourth year will be academically challenging that will push you to new limits. The summer before the school year begins, you will be tempted to walk away and stay working for your summer employer. Don’t take it! Finish your Bishop’s story – you will thank yourself for it later. There will be many “re-living first year” moments; don’t forget to look back every now and then to see how much you have accomplished.  When you think you’ve finished life in academia, think again. It’s called post-grad and you best hope it is only an additional year. You will also have many new obstacles thrown at you like never before, but you come out stronger. PS: Do not register for Sports in the Ancient World because you think it will relate to your recent summer experience with the Canada Games. You will spend 99% of your time complaining about the Etrucans, Romans and Greek, and the other 1% taking the exams. There is no way you will survive the required readings. It’s a wonderful lesson how sports became the sports you love today, but it will consume your semester. Just please… don’t do it.

The friends you meet at Bishop’s, hold on to them tightly. They will be there for you at your best and worst. They aren’t just the people who pregame with you, who stand outside of the Gait with you or let you borrow their exam notes. They are the ones right next to you on this adventure. They drive 2 hours to cook breakfast with you at midnight, who bring you wine and a good movie when you are upset and who call you over summer break to see how you are doing. Know the difference, and you’ll be okay.

Well, that’s at least what I figure right now. It’s not exactly June 2014 just yet. I’ve got a month left before I leave this place with a bang, but I think I’ll save that for another letter to tell you about later.

First Year V, you’ll do alright. So stop worrying. You will meet some of the most talented individuals in the field. Cherish all your Bishop’s moments.  However, let me break this to you now: you’ll never get any taller. (In fact, you’ll learn in biology that in a few years down that humans actually shrink. This is terrible news.)

Alright, it’s time to get back to studying for finals so you graduate! By the way, post-graduation you end up back within your dream field! Don’t sweat the small stuff, but do remember to look back every now and then and thank the individuals who helped you along the way.

Write soon.

Fourth Year Vanessa

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