Dear Me,

Photo of several frames with photos in them sitting on a table
Snapshots of Kalee's four years at the University of Kentucky.

It is kinda crazy to be looking at this picture from four years ago, just a week before moving off to the University of Kentucky. It was a sappy night with lots of tears because the first of my best friends was leaving for college. And I went home anxious and scared for the next week when I had to pack up and leave too. My friends and family, my bed, my normal route to Starbucks that I could probably have driven blindfolded. I was so comfortable in routine and normalcy and was nervous about to be pushed out of it. If I had only known then what I know now…

Dear Kalee,

Hey girl, it’s you. Four years later. Spoiler alert – you’re doing just fine. Change isn’t easy but you found a new normal. The next four years are going to be a time for you to be independent and learn about yourself. You’re going to find passions you never knew you had, make new friends who are more like you than you could have ever imagined and finally figure out what you actually want to do when you “grow up.”

In four years, you’re going to be proud of the person you’ve become and what you’ve accomplished. You’re going to be reassured almost daily that your decision to attend the University of Kentucky was the right one for you. But it isn’t going to come without pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying new things. So, don’t be afraid to say yes to the opportunities and be spontaneous!

Go get coffee with girls in your sorority that you haven’t met yet when you get the chance. Two hundred and fifty women in a chapter can be intimidating, but don’t let it be. There are girls in there that will turn into friends that feel like family (I mean, they’re called sisters for a reason).

Take the study break because you probably deserve it. Some of the best memories and conversations come from late night drives with no destination. One night you’ll end up taking backroads until you’re almost in West Virginia; maybe don’t do that – it was a lot of gas money.

Get tickets for the game because being in the student section is so exciting and you’ll probably regret that you didn’t try to make it more of them.

Go to new places. There’re more coffee shops than Starbucks in this world and they’re really cool.

When you’re getting bored in class or sitting at the kitchen table dreading the homework ahead of you, remind yourself that this is important for you! This isn’t a required class that you know you won’t use in your future jobs. These classes and assignments are meant to help you in the career you’re going into.

Turn the fun ideas into reality. If you and your friends talk about taking a weekend trip, plan it! You’ll be disappointed if you don’t.

Leaving home is hard, but you know what? Everyone around you freshman year will feel the same way. It’s okay that despite your summer filled with scrolling Pinterest to create the perfect decor, your residence hall room still doesn’t quite feel like your room back home. It’s okay to call mom every night on the walk home from the library. And it’s okay to have a countdown of when you’re going to get to see your best friends from home again. Coming to college isn’t supposed to replace the life you once had, it adds to the one you’ve already got.

Don’t take these years ahead of you for granted. Now I’m in the same position that you are – just weeks from my college commencement – and if you thought leaving high school was hard, wait until you have to leave UK.



P.S. A few weeks ago when you cleaned out your closet before packing up your clothes to take with you, remember how you just couldn’t find it in you to throw out those old Jonas Brothers t-shirts? Smart move … THEY’RE BACK TOGETHER!


Are you ready to make the decision to become a Wildcat? Confirm your spot at the University of Kentucky by MAY 1 at