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"What I'd tell my younger self"

One hiker helping another up a cliff by the ocean

Natalie Tanner
January 08, 2018

I am graduating this upcoming May, and while I am super, ecstatically excited for the future, I can’t help but to be nostalgic about the past four years that I’ve had at the University of Northern Colorado. There are so many things that I wish I could go back and tell past me, especially first-year-in-college me. Here are a few.  

Take a deep breath, and then go do what scares you. 

Don’t get me wrong — I loved my freshman year and all of the experiences I had, but I often would let fear stop me from doing the things I wanted to do. I let the fear of what I thought my new friends or roommate would say stop me from trying new things that I was interested in. Now, as a senior, my motto is, “You only regret the things you didn’t do.”

Don’t be afraid to be weird and have fun.

I spent so much of my freshman year trying to fit in that I didn’t make any long-lasting friends, because they didn’t truly know the real me. I wanted so badly to stick to the status quo (I know, very High School Musical of me).


Once I learned that I should unapologetically be myself, I made lots of real friends and was hired for positions at the university where my energetic personality was actually appreciated. Some of my absolute favorite memories of UNC will be being an Orientation Leader and dancing on stage for all of the incoming first-year students with my other Orientation friends. I only wish that I had had more confidence in who I was, who I am, sooner.

Asking for help is not weakness. 

This is another lesson I wish I could instill on past me and even current me, some days. I am an extreme go-getter. I currently have four on-campus jobs, am in the Honors program, am a TA for an Honors class and am the treasurer for a club, just to start off the list. My time management skills are impeccable, but sometimes I spread myself too thin. I have to stop and remind myself, You can do anything, but that doesn’t mean that you should do everything. And if you are doing everything, you are going to, at some point, get burnt out. Before you are overwhelmed and exhausted, ask for help. There is no shame in needing a little self-care. Sometimes help is a friend to lean on or an extra day to finish an assignment. Sometimes help is going to the counseling center or giving yourself that nap you desperately need. Asking for help is so important!

Not everyone is going to like you, so cherish the ones who do.

This one may sound harsh, but we all know that sometimes you just meet someone and you don’t know why, but they just rub you the wrong way. Well, sometimes people are going to feel that way about you. Don’t waste your time trying to please everyone; you just can’t. So go out and live your best life. Make friends and cherish them! Make college bucket lists with them, cry with them and, more importantly, laugh, dance and joke with them. They will be one of the most important things you get from college.

College is a time where we all grow and change. It can be crazy and busy. Take the time to stop and appreciate it. It goes so much faster than you ever imagined it would.