Dear 2014 Niki,
You don’t know this yet, but three and a half years from now, you’ll be standing in this exact same spot, happily clutching on to your final hand-in receipt. Your huge portfolio will have shrunk into a website, and while you’ll have lost that favourite yellow scarf of yours on a night out, you’ll have gained a lot more amazing experiences, friends, and skills, than you can imagine. So let me give you a bit of a spoiler.
You’ve just finished your interview at AUB, but in less than 24 hours, you will receive your offer from the uni. It’ll be a wise choice to pick this course, as throughout your studies, you’ll realise that you don’t actually want to do film costume design, but scenography, and set design, specifically. And that, actually, you want to move back to Budapest.
You’ll smash your high school leaving exams, and while you’ll often have recurring nightmares about having to go back to school, trust me, it’ll be over, and your life will be so much more relaxed and happier at uni. The first year might be a bit hard, but later, you’ll end up in a house with an awesome bunch of international people who’ll become your second family.
Throughout the three years of the course, you’ll build six model boxes, make an 18th century ball gown (you’ll hate it, but you’ll get through it), create dozens of costume designs, write numerous essays with a whole lot of performance theory, and you’ll work on over nine productions as a designer, including theatre, film, and photography. It’ll be a crazy journey with quite a few all-nighters and lots of coffee and stress. You’ll cry, and you’ll want to give up and instead flee to Norway to care for baby goats on a farm, but every single time, you’ll keep going and manage to pull it off somehow (through immense amounts of winging and improvisation).
Your amazing support system of family, friends, and tutors will also help you through the hard times. Cherish them, because they are truly wonderful human beings. At the same time, you’ll also grow to relish in solitude, having come to terms with yourself and all your weird quirks.
You’ll do a fair bit of travelling, including a three week language programme in Sicily on a scholarship you’re about to win, where you’ll attempt to sneak in to a concert held in an ancient amphitheatre with some guys you’ve met on Tinder (then get thrown out by security). Then there’ll be a day trip to Vienna to see Ed Sheeran and to Rome to see Ludovico Einaudi live, and trips to Cinque Terre and the Costa Brava, as well as your first ever solo trip to Madeira, which you can actually afford, thanks to your part-time job at the uni library.
Still, the biggest adventure of all will be your hitchhiking-couchsurfing trip across London, Belgium, Holland, and Paris, where you’ll fall madly in love. He’ll break your heart; but don’t worry, those weeks spent together in utter bliss will forever be some of your sweetest memories. And eventually, you’ll heal, and love again (and get back to the crazy world of dating mishaps).
You’ll impulsively cut your luscious mane of a hair short, but don’t worry, it’ll grow back. Eventually.
After the brief break you’re taking now, you’ll go back to vegetarianism, and feel better than ever after you switch to an almost entirely vegan diet in the beginning of 2017 (contrary to your belief, you won’t miss dairy – not even cheese – at all!). Even though you’ll have a couple of phases where you get obsessed with running, you still won’t be very fond of exercise, so let’s try it again and maybe go back to tennis and/or dance after uni.
However, you’ll actually get quite good at adulting, becoming an independent young woman who knows how to care for herself and give herself the love she deserves.
And on the 22nd of May, 2017, you’ll be standing here, just having handed in your final major project, crying tears of joy (sleepless, before you were procrastinating work the day before by writing this), and so insanely proud of yourself that you never gave up, no matter how many times you wanted to, and got through it all in the end. So hang in there, because everything will be just fine. In fact, more than fine.
Lots of love,