Freshman Me could have never predicted all of this…

Dear my future self,

Thank you for remembering and reading this letter. This is you – the 22 year-old girl who is about to graduate University of California Santa Barbara and start your dream job. Do not worry, I will not ask you about your future plans or how you are dealing with “adult” problems as I know how much you hate those questions. 

I hope that you are reaching all of your goals and resolutely overcome any challenges that you are facing. If you are struggling, recall the time when you were rejected from more than 40 companies in the U.S, 30 companies in Vietnam, and ended up with no summer internships. Remember how you were strong enough to push through that difficult time and decided to not give until you achieve your desired career? I do not have any advice for you as failure and rejection makes you stronger. I have always imagined saying “Do you regret rejecting me?” to all of those companies, but instead I learned how to say thank you for teaching me the value of being resilient and fearful. Now, 10 more years, or 20 more years, it is okay to fail, to feel disheartened, but remember you only need one yes. You cannot convince people to recognize your potential if you are telling yourself no. You are that first yes. So always be confident and prepare to work hard because your voice is important and your dream matters. 

I still remember how excited I was when I first learned about investing. I hope you are better at managing money than I do. I am not sure about how popular the terms “Bitcoin”  or “cryptocurrencies” are in 10 years from now but they were the center of the public eyes in 2021.   Remember how you lost $100 the first week you invested in cryptocurrencies? That excitement and adrenaline really got you, isn’t it? I hope you carefully do your research before taking any risk, not only investment; and only put in what you can afford to lose. As an Economics student, you have heard so many times the “high risk, high reward” phrase but people rarely explain to you what that means. Courageous risk helps you to grow and be more brave, but it also teaches you impactful lessons. The higher the climb, the harder the fall and if the reward sounds too good to be true to you, such as “become a millionaire overnight”, then it probably is. A good investment is not only the one with an adequate return, but also with through analysis and study. 

Lastly, I hope you are taking care of yourself as I must admit I did a horrible job during my twenties. I used to take twenty units, two part-time jobs and participated in three different organizations. All of those achievements come with the cost of my mental health. Although the scarification brings me success at the end, it can never be used as justification for putting my wellness at risk. Happiness, these proud moments only last for a certain period of time, but your mental health is what keeps you on a wise mind. I know you are a very ambitious person but I am sorry to say that “goals are more important than my sleep” is not a good excuse anymore. I hope you learn to love yourself and remember that you do not have to struggle in silence. I hope you are now comfortable with letting people see a more vulnerable you as you do not need to appear strong and capable everytime. And I hope you know how to listen to your body and take a much needed break when you need to. 

If you read through this letter and wonder, “What am I talking about?” then I am proud of you as these are the things that I hope I can improve once I “grow up.” Although I am nowhere near wise or highly intelligent, if you are a Gaucho and stumble across this letter, I hope you find my journey and advice helpful. I wish that I can write a longer letter but I am now busy getting ready to celebrate my graduation. I wish you all the best and remember to take care of yourself! Here’s to the class of 2021!

By: Uyen Nguyen,Senior, B.A. Economics-Accounting