Even though some may look at it as a waste of time, writing a letter to your graduated self is not only fun but can also produce some interesting benefits. While it’s a simple exercise, in and of itself, you should still try and take it seriously to get the most out of it.
Take some time to brainstorm ideas before sitting down to write the letter. And once you finish, put it aside and only open it after you’ve graduated. You may be asking what the point of all of this is. Well, this is a time capsule that will allow you to speak to your future self.
Memories tend to fade and become distorted over time, making it unreliable by the time you graduate. It’s far better to put pen to paper and write down all of your hopes and dreams, your visions and aspirations, as well as ask some mindful questions that only your future self can answer.
As you write your letter, your current thoughts and consciousness will be stored in your words. And as you read it after graduation, months or years later, you will be provided with a different perspective, letting you see just how much you have changed since then.
Why Write a Letter To Your Graduated Self?
There are several main benefits of why you should do this exercise.
- It Helps You Put Your Goals in Order – As you begin writing the letter, you will start thinking about all the actions you need to take to see your goals realized in your expected timeframe. Therefore, writing this letter is not only a way to address your future self but your present one as well. It helps you analyze your goals more in-depth and truly think about why you’ve enrolled in college in the first place.
- Builds Gratitude – Cultivating gratitude is one of the best things that you can do for your emotional health. It can reduce stress and anxiety and help you realize what you have. By expressing gratitude in your letter, you will be giving yourself a thank you in the future.
- Boosts Self-Awareness – Most of us have been put in the awkward situation of looking at an old video or photo of ourselves when we were younger and feeling embarrassed by your own naivety and your lack of self-awareness. This is a good thing because it shows us just how much we’ve evolved since then. You’ll be immediately struck by both how much you’ve changed as well as how little you’ve changed at the same time.
Likewise, when you open the letter down the road, you will also get to assess the things that match and don’t match in terms of expectations. More importantly, you will get to ask yourself why those things are the same or why they are different. Our goals and aspirations change quite significantly due to unforeseen circumstances, events, or shifting priorities. Reading your letter will let you see how your trajectory has changed and whether it’s for better or worse.
- It Gets You Back on Track – Where will you be several years from now? Who do you want to become? You’ve just graduated and, maybe, you’re uncertain about what to do next. It might even feel like the best days are behind you. This exercise will help you get out of that state of mind and reposition yourself toward what you hoped to become.
How to Write a Letter To Your Graduated Self?
Before we go into the details, consider this simple resource that might help you. FutureMe is a site that lets you write an email to yourself and have it delivered in the future. Similarly, Five Year Letter will do, more or less, the same thing, the difference being that the letter will be printed, placed in an envelope, and sent to you on your desired date. And, of course, you can do it yourself, as long as you remember to open it or resist the temptation to open it before graduation.
That said, here are several key steps to help you on your way.
- Be Casual – Since you’ll be talking to yourself, don’t feel like you need to take a formal tone. Write as if you were talking to your best friend. This will also help you express yourself better. Also, when you’re talking about your current self, use the first person, “I.” And when you’re talking about your future self, use the second person, “you.”
- Describe Your Current Self – Allow several lines to describe yourself as you are at the moment of writing. Mention your recent accomplishments, interests, and favorite activities. This will help you see how you’ve changed in the meantime.
- Include Your Fears – Think about and include any fears that you might have at the moment. Take as much time as you need to get your thoughts in order and talk about any family issues, your fear of changing careers, not succeeding in life, or anything that affects you at the moment. This way, you will be able to see if you’ve overcome them after your time in college.
- Define Your Goals, Hopes, Dreams, and Aspirations – Just like with your fears, write about what motivates you at the moment, as well as what you hope to achieve with your college degree. Don’t forget to touch on broader dreams as well, both personal and professional.
- Ask Yourself About Things You Want to Start, Stop, or Continue Doing – Perhaps you want to stop arguing with your family so much, quit smoking, or stop biting your nails. Maybe you want to keep going to the gym or start volunteering. Put these in your letter and ask your future self about them.
- Give Yourself Some Advice – Consider the things you’re struggling with currently and think about what advice you might give yourself in the future. Who knows, you might need it.
- Ask Yourself Questions – The questions you will ask your future self should be about how your college experience managed to bring you closer to what you wanted to achieve. Has it brought you closer to your dream job? Has it helped you make new friends and connections? Do you feel confident about what you’ve learned? Did you have fun while doing it? Ask yourself about anything and everything you hoped to achieve from your college experience, as well as what are the next steps forward.
The key to all of this is being honest about everything. Don’t be afraid to pour your heart into it. Also, this exercise is not a one-size-fits-all exercise. As long as you’re sincere and serious about it, you can’t go wrong. It’s you who’s writing it, and it’s you who will be reading it.
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