An Open Letter To My “First Year Of College” Self

This week I’ve seen a lot of first day of school photos on Facebook. Even more photos from my friends who work in higher education, posting the move-in day photos from their college. It’s always so fun to see other beginning a new chapter in their lives. It gives me a chance to look back and think about my first year.

An article published this week, gave me some perspective:

It got me thinking about my first year of college, the day I moved into the dorms and how I felt that day. If only I could have read a letter from my future self. If I did, it would sound something like this:

Dear 18-year-old self,
Welcome to the next chapter in your life. Welcome to freedom. Welcome to living in a community. Welcome to learning independence. And welcome to the beginning of a wonderful 4 years.

I know you’re probably really excited about the freedom. No curfew or anyone to check in on. But I want to let you in on a little tip. All those house parties your about to attend, aren’t really all they are cracked up to be. Be careful when you’re out there. Never go alone and don’t leave alone. Watch who is there and what pictures are being taken.  In a few years Facebook will be developed and you may regret what’s out there if you aren’t careful.

Regarding drinking in general, let’s be honest here. It happens in college and there are plenty of opportunities. Have fun but be safe. And remember that some of your deepest friendship will not be the ones you go build when you’re out with all the time. In other words, friendships aren’t built around drinking booze. They are much deeper and you’ll find that you don’t have to drink to meet friends. On that note, don’t overlook someone because they aren’t a “partier”.  In  a few years they’ll be some of your best friends, they’ll help you through even more life moments and they’ll be a part of your wedding day.  Trust me on this one.

In the category of love: stop trying to find someone. College is a time for you to be selfish and enjoy YOUR life. Yes, people around you will “fall in love” or at least that’s how it looks. It will probably be “cool” to have a guy around.  And you’ll probably date someone who you think you “love.”  You may even have your heart broken. But it won’t matter in a few years. I know you’ve always wanted to find “the one” but let me tell you…STOP LOOKING. Even more important, stop looking for “the one” at house parties and bars. Speaking of bars, you’re not old enough to get in, so be careful. I know you’re probably laughing at me but it’s illegal and you best be safe about it. Don’t act like you’re 18.

Back to love, you’ll find the man of your dreams when you’re ready. In the mean time, stand by the values you came to college with. Don’t give in to peer pressure or pressure from the guys you date. I promise you, everything will be worth the wait. EVERYTHING! That being said, don’t be afraid to date.  You’ll probably make a few mistakes but they’ll teach you something in the process.

While we’re at it, let’s talk about classes and career. Don’t fret too much about specific classes. Try your best to get good grades but don’t freak out about the little things. I can tell you first hand that in 10 years that grade you’ll get in economics will not matter. What will matter is the experiences you had in those classes and the way you use them outside the classroom.  Some of your favorite classes will not be required under your major , take them anyway. And you’ll probably hear a lot of jokes about experiential learning but it’s not joke. It’s really the best way to learn and you’ll find that you thrive once you embrace that.

Study abroad, even though it seems impossible to leave campus for a semester, I promise it will be worth it. And I promise it will change you perspective of the world. While you’re at it, make time to take a service trip. It’s good to spend a week giving back and learning about another community. Spend one of your school breaks giving back and you’ll get much more in return.

Don’t worry about saying “no” to activities. Both college sponsored and extra-curricular. You tend to get overloaded because you don’t want to say no. You’ll regret it later if you don’t. That being said…GET INVOLVED! I have no doubt you’re already signed up for something. And I’m proud of you for that. Try something new and make friends in the process. Just don’t get so over involved that you can’t truly commit to all your activities.

FINALLY, keep your faith. Yes, I’m talking about God. You came to college with a strong faith base. Don’t loose site of that. The first few months of college you’ll probably go through a rebellion stage. I bet you’ll miss mass a few times. Maybe even make excuses about why you aren’t going. That’s okay, everyone goes through these stages but don’t forget how much your faith means to you. Don’t forget that God is always there, you aren’t alone in this journey and even if you abandon him for awhile, he’ll welcome you back with open arms.  Go to church, take time for God and make sure to invest in that relationship too.

All in all, it’s gonna be a great 4 years. So go out, have fun, be safe and don’t worry about the future. It’s all going to turn out fine (even if it doesn’t turn out how you expect).

Your future self.

Video Updates

If you know Scott and me you know we are always making movies about our adventures.  Below you’ll find some of the latest:

This is a recap of our trip to the Iowa State Fair this year. We took our new DSLR, which I am learning how to shoot with, and captured some of the sights and sounds of the fair.

And remember how I blogged about our relaxing weekend at the Lake. Here is a video we shot for fun. We were testing out the GoPro’s floating back.

Just in case that wasn’t enough Lauren and Scott for you, I will be putting together a summer recap here soon. Gonna wait till after Dundee Day in our neighborhood.

A lot has happened in the last few weeks. Shannon moved to Omaha three weeks ago. She is living with Scott and I for a few weeks. She took a job as a co-manager of Express. It’s going really well so far and we’re happy to have her in Omaha. Scott and I are enjoying being newlyweds. Spending our weekends together, taking little mini-vacations (since I don’t have much vacation time). We have enjoyed it.

On the work front, things are shaking up. Quite a shift in schedules announced this week. Including mine. After Friday Night Football I’ll be back to working Sunday night’s. It’s one of our most watched newscasts of the week, so that will be nice. However, our weekends together will not be as festive as they’ve been all summer. If we decided to take a weekend trip, I’ll likely need to take a vacation day, which, again, I don’t have much of.

In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying Friday Night Fever. I’m doing a feature again this week. It’s called “Squires Scribbles” and it’s one of my favorite times of the year. I get the freedom to tell stories that often get missed. Plus I get paid to shoot football on Friday nights. It’s a fun trade-off. 🙂

All is well at the Ready home. More updates to come.

State Fair Food…And Other Attractions

Nothing says Iowa State Fair like fried food on a stick.  This weekend, after a day at Lake Panorama, we took a spspontaneous trip to Des Moines for the Iowa State Fair.  I’ve been there so many years and I’m amazed how each year I find something new or different.  This years big attraction was the bacon corn dog, dipped in maple syrup.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the patience to wait in line for such thing so we moved on to other items.

This year we got cheese curds, a huge bowl of chocolate chip cookies and chocolate covered bacon on a stick. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. But it was all so good I didn’t need to eat a real big dinner.

I think one of my favorite parts this year was the photography entries on display.  I haven’t ever taken a walk through that building but I was amazed at all the talented photographers we have in this state.  I got a lot of good ideas too.


One other attraction this year that we spent a lot of time at was the Iowa Craft Beer Tent.  Locally brewed beers were featured and tastes were had.  I can’t say I had a favorite, as there were several great options.  But I was amazed to see how many breweries we have in Iowa.  We spent almost an hour at the tent, tasting, comparing and taking note to what we liked best.  It’s a new addition that seemed to be getting a lot of attention.

Of course there will be a video posted about our adventures.  Scott and I continue to test out our new camera, Canon Rebel T4i.  None the less I was reminded that the State Fair is worth every penny.  It’s fun and it’s a great tradition.