Advice From Your Favorite Uncle – More Hints For Freshman Year Success

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I remember the day that I brought home my firstborn son from the hospital and walked into our apartment with him in my arms. The previous 48 hours had been a whirlwind of activity, filled with doctors and nurses who knew what to do and what tests to run and what should happen next.

As a proud father all I had to do was stay out of the way and do as I was told and provide emotional support to my wife and newborn son. That was the easiest thing in the world to do.

When it came time to go home we had bags to pack and bills to pay and traffic to navigate. Then we got home with all our kit, I unlocked the door and walked into the house, closing the door behind me. It was so quiet there that for a moment it was shocking. Then I realized I was holding a two day old baby, our baby, in my arms and that everything that happened next was up to me.

I was terrified.

What do I do next? What happens if there’s a problem? Who’s gonna tell me what to do?

You know what happened next?

Life.

People have been facing this for thousands of years ago and will continue to face it for another thousand years.

Trust in your nature, it will take over and help you find the right thing to do.

Don’t worry about it, just do your best, be a good person, read everything you can and learn from those around you. Ask questions until you’re satisfied with the answer then ask a few more.

You will start to get the hang of it as long as you take your new responsibility seriously.

College life is like that. There’ll be a furious amount of activity getting you to the school and set up and prepared for classes and bags unpacked.

Then there will come an awful moment when you realize it’s time for your parents to go home, for you to go back to your dorm room for the first time by yourself.

You know what happens next?

Life happens next.

Your parents will get home and call you and you’ll go to sleep and wake up the next morning and start your day. Each day will become a little more like the next one rather than the one that just passed.

You’ll learn and grow and get on with your college career.

Don’t worry about leaving your roots behind. You could no more leave your roots behind than a tree can get up and walk away from theirs. Your roots will provide you the values and nourishment you need to get through the troublesome times and help you make sense of the confusing ones.

Your parents will continue to love you, your sisters will be there to share in your new experiences and you’ll be able to tell them all about the new things that you’re going through.

Sure, things will be  different than what you’re used to but that’s the nature of life. As the tree grows taller and stronger it starts to cast shade and take on its adult maturity. So will you.

Trust in your nature and in the goodness of life around you and you’ll do just fine.

Oh, and one more thing, call your mother. Tell her you love her. That seems to make all the difference.

Ken Long, Chief of Research, Tortoise Capital Management
finance: http://www.tortoisecapital.com
essays: http://kansasreflections.wordpress.com

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