This letter may or may not be for you. It can take a while to realise whether you’re someone who benefits from nepotism. It’s a complex topic with many different approaches but there’s one lasting trait through it all: it always involves a person with power.
Now, nepotism isn’t always a bad thing and it can be but is not always corruption. The bad side of nepotism comes when people don’t acknowledge they benefit from it. The best thing you can do as someone who benefits from nepotism is to recognise your privilege and do some good with it. Your privilege is that you know someone powerful enough who likes you and can get what favours you. Not everyone knows someone like that, can get help like that, and is favoured like that.
The second best thing you can do is to recognise the stakes. What does it mean that you, simply by your privilege of knowing and being liked by someone of power, get this particular thing? Should you take it? Should you refuse? If you take it, is it really just nepotism or is it corruption too? Is there someone else more appropriate to get it? How can you use this opportunity to help someone else who might not otherwise never get help like this? If you pass this opportunity and give it to someone else, will you ever get this sort of opportunity again?
Eric Trump’s comments on nepotism earlier this month is exactly why it’s important to assess whether you benefit from it. Nepotism isn’t a “factor of life”. It might be for him and his family but it isn’t for everyone and saying so is ignorant. And this part is just speculation but I doubt his father would “encourage them to go on their own way” if they weren’t competent; just look at the qualifications of the people he put in the White House. If anyone appointed by him recognised their privilege and just how high the stakes are, they should’ve declined.
It’s imperative to recognise the privilege you have, whether that privilege comes from having business-owning parents, your race, or being liked by the right people. But recognising you benefit from nepotism is not enough, you need to use it to help others. If you benefit from nepotism, it is likely you can access it whenever, but there are people out there who don’t have that sort of privilege. So help them out, do some good.
I don’t know where to begin. You know I’m terrible at communication. Even after all those times I promised that I’ll keep trying, somehow my bottle ends up full. But I know I have to write this letter. I know because I love you.
I’m sorry for those times I yelled at you because you forgot to wake me up, even though I know you were savouring those rare fifteen minutes that I cuddle up to you. Thank you for loving me enough to want to cuddle me despite my yelling.
I’m sorry for when I start a fight because you’re being playful and I happen to be in a bad mood, even though I’m playful whenever the hell I please. Thank you for playing along even when you don’t feel like it.
I’m sorry for making you feel guilty over the smallest, irrelevant things, even though we both know it’s more my fault than yours. Thank you for being patient and waiting for me to come around to apologise.
I’m sorry for when I scold you about how unhealthy or unhygienic you’re being, even though I sometimes give up health because I’m too lazy or tired. Thank you for always bringing me my toothbrush with extra minty toothpaste when I’m exhausted, because you know if you don’t I won’t brush.
I’m sorry for not telling you I love you or that I miss you enough, even though you always do. Thank you for being you.
I’ve known I’ve had to write this letter for a long time and I’ve always known what to say. But it took me a while to start because the truth is, I could’ve written to my best friend, my partner in crime, my significant other, and my favourite, and it would’ve still ended up with you.
You’re about to enter arguably the most formative years of your life. That in itself is something I wish I had known. Just knowing I was about to change, regardless of not knowing how or what was going to change, simply knowing that I was going to would’ve helped me be so much kinder to myself.
So this is for you, just a list of things I learned at uni that I would’ve liked to know before my first day.
Uni isn’t for everyone
Look, sitting in lecture halls and being examined on your notes just isn’t for everyone. It’s ridiculous to assume so. But don’t take this as a reason to drop out at the first inconvenience. Some people know exactly what they want to specialise in so specific institutions like art or culinary school might be better. Others might not have as much of an idea and need time to figure it out. Doing that at uni through trial-and-error can work but it’s also very expensive so a gap year might help. With that said…
It’s okay to change courses
Assuming you’re from high school, you’re going from a place where everyone studied the same things. With so much pressure pushing students to go to uni right after school, many students enter hastily and realise later on that they downright hate what they’re learning. That’s okay. How were you supposed to know back then? Realising what you like or don’t like and making the change is not shameful. Doing what you hate is a waste of your time, money, energy, and so much more. You owe yourself, and those who support you, a life you love.
You and your life > Education
Yes, education is important but you are more. If a loved one is sick and you have to miss a few classes to be by their side, go. If your friend from home is in town for a week, make time for them. If you’re faced with a tragedy and need some help and surround yourself with positivity, please, please, please go take care of yourself. You will forever regret not saying goodbye, or losing a friend, or losing yourself. Taking care of youreslf is not selfish; it’s necessary and responsible. Remember, it’s easy to get a degree. It’s impossible to get a second chance at life.
Friends: Old are gold but new are too
It’s likely that you and a lot of people around you are going to be away from the families for the first time. Making and keeping friends will help you as you discover new things about yourself and the world. Wherever you go, back home or to your next lecture, having a support system is always important.
Four years is just a timeframe
If you take longer than expected to graduate for whatever reason, the most important thing to do is to find out exactly why you did and figure things out from there. Your financial supporters might not be happy and you might feel left behind as your friends graduate but hey, these things happen. People fail classes, life gets in the way, it happens. Just don’t give up. Pull yourself together and move forward, whether that means finishing your degree or not, because again, you owe yourself a life you love.
Don’t study solely for a career
Doing so can be very damaging because you’re living in the future. You’ll miss out on your youth! Study because you like what you study. Yes, you should keep your career in mind but hey, you also have to enjoy yourself! And that means taking a break when you need and going to parties and such!
A lot of people don’t work in the field they studied
That’s fine if they’re fine with it. It’s actually pretty cool they’re able to excel enough and get paid at something they didn’t get a degree in! The most important thing is: don’t lose sight of your dreams.
I’ll leave it at that. Once learned, these lessons, made my uni life much easier for me to handle. Of course, despite this list you will learn things that you wish you had known before too but that’s just how life goes. Maybe you’ll find that learning as you go is sometimes the best way for a lesson to sink it.
Take care of yourself out there. I’m rooting for you!
It’s been a while, how are you? I’ve begun this letter more times than I’d like to admit and I worry this one might not make admitting it any easier.
I guess I’m apprehensive because I am both extremely sorry and not sorry whatsoever for having lost touch. I am sorry because friends are hard to come by. I didn’t know that back when we were a “we”. I didn’t even know after we stopped being a “we”. I only recently figured it out when I realised just how little plural pronouns apply to me. I pride myself with how well I know where my two feet stand but it is still very saddening to realise they stand alone. I hope you have not gone through the same experience.
But I am also not sorry because communication has always been a two-way street. I don’t blame you, of course, because that would be hypocritical and to be frank, I never yearned for a message, until now. I’m not sorry because I had a life to live. I don’t have to explain how irreplaceable physical presence can be and the difficulties the lack of it poses. I’ve done well for myself. I’ve stepped out of the bubble of youth constructed by seemingly all-knowing adults at the same time as you but in a different direction, headed to become one of the all-knowers. Of course I haven’t yet or maybe I have and I just don’t know (ironically). My age is supposedly the indicator of this but then again it only quantifies my existence without acknowledging my existence at all.
If we are still alike, I’m sure you’ll understand my “sorry not sorry” status. How funny would it be if that phrase were made by a nostalgic all-knower instead of a meme-loving teen? Either way, it fits. And I hope you feel the same, for the sake of our past alikeness and possible reunion.
But if you don’t, I understand too. You see, this letter isn’t for just anyone. It’s for you. I miss you, dare I say, I don’t know you at all. I guess it is more accurate to say I miss who you were and what that made us. Do you remember when you swung across the river on a rope and jumped right onto me in the waters below? I think about that a lot. It should’ve hurt, if anyone were around they would’ve dove right in to save us, but it didn’t. We were light as feathers, perhaps because of the water lifting us or the sheer joy lifting our spirits and bodies alike. That’s what I miss. I change my mind, that memory is still a part of you, like it is me, so saying I miss you is okay, is right. I miss you. And I miss youth.
Tell me how you are, if you feel like it. I’d love to know. If not, that’s okay too. Thank you, and I mean this wholeheartedly, for making my past plural. I’ll cherish the memories like I have been for years. You really were, and I’m sure still are, one of a kind.