Serina's Letter to Her Future Self

Serina Herron-Smith, MA SID'24

October 10, 2023

Serina Heron-Smith MA SID

Dear Future Serina,

I know that as you’re reading this you’re both cringing and tearing up because you do that (we do that? I do that?) No matter how many degrees you attain, and knowledge you collect, you’ll always be emotional and wear your heart on your sleeve. Anyways, congratulations are in order – you did it! How do you feel? Is August 2023 just a distant memory? Do you remember how stressed you were trying to find housing? All the unexpected things then taught you life’s most important lesson – how to pivot? I hope you realized that big challenges at present can be small bumps in the road as time passes. 

What I'm most curious about, because I haven't lived it yet, is your practicum and thesis. Which organization did you decide to work with? Was it an NGO? A non-profit? Something else? What about your thesis? I know you (obviously, I’m you) you can’t help yourself so you had expectations, and big dreams and big goals. Did your thesis topic end up being what you thought it would be about? Or did you… pivot? Did a class inspire you so much that it made you deviate from your plan? I know how rare that is for you. But when it happens, you commit yourself fully to your new passion so I know it must’ve really hit home.  

What about your school activities? I know how much you wanted to really be a part of the Brandeis community and join clubs and make friends. How did that end up for you? Do you have plans tonight with your cohort? Are you going to celebrate in Waltham and take pictures and reminisce about classes that frustrated you, inspired you, maybe changed you? Did you make memories to last a lifetime? Please tell me you attend a few hikes with the Brandeis Graduate Outdoors Club. When you first heard of it you were excited so i hope you were able to participate. 

There’s no doubt in my mind that you’re thinking about what to do post-grad. I know you (and me, and us) and I know that you’ve been thinking about jobs and the future,  so I must know – where are you going to work? And if that’s too big of a question, who do you want to help? Because I know that ultimately that’s where your heart truly lies – in helping people. And if that’s still too big of a question, if that’s stressing you out, let me ask you this : did you adopt a cat? Because I'm telling you now as you read this, adopt the cat.

And finally, as we reach the end of this letter (and maybe one single tear drop has escaped by this point?) I have to know – are you going to go on that road trip you thought about? The one where you go to all the major National Parks across America after you graduate? Fill up that stamp book you purchased when you went camping in Acadia two years ago? I hope you do, because you deserve it and I'm proud of you. All the tears, the stress, the hopes, the laughs and the pivots? They led you right to where you need to be, I promise you. Everyone is proud of you! And I want you to be happy. Congratulations!



P.S. Negotiate your salary! In the wise words of Rihanna… “Pay me what you owe me”!