College

Dear Freshman Year Me

Today I’m sitting in a pile of my clothes, packing up my things for my last semester of college.

Yes, four years flew by that fast.

Freshman year seems like eternities ago. The mix of fear and excitement leading up to move-in day. The first (and second) roommates, the unknown kids on my floor and even the anticipation for sorority recruitment. You had so many questions before freshman year, and I can answer them now – and maybe give a little hindsight advice.

Will I even like it here?

You will learn to love it here. Not everyone loves their school right away, but some people do. Even though your friends are having the time of their life during their first week and you feel like a fish out of water, keep going. You’re going to learn to love every nook and cranny of this campus and realize it is right where you belong. The people are nice and relaxed and there’s no pressure to be someone you’re not or someone you think you have to be. Try new classes at the gym, sit alone in the dining hall. This campus is going to teach you a lot of academics but even more about yourself.

Will these be my friends for life? What about my high school friends?

They will be your friends when they are needed in your life. That may not be what you want to hear, but it’s the truth. While you grow on your campus, so are all of your friends – old and new. You are going to discover that the small bubble that you lived in in high school was nowhere near the real world, and you will learn the same thing about your huge college campus. Don’t fight to keep friendships that are long gone, but rather nurture the ones that are sticking around. You will have some friends that you talk to every day and friends that you catch up with when you’re home. Value these relationships the same – they will help you in many different ways. Along the way, I promise, you’ll be lucky and find your niche of friends, but I doubt that will be freshman year. Don’t sweat it.

Will me and my boyfriend stay together?

Maybe. This is an infinite maybe. The key to being happy in a romantic relationship in college is to never let it hold you back. I made that mistake for 2 years. If you’re giving up things that make you happy for someone else who may not even be on campus with you, you’re going to resent that person and resent yourself. Don’t waste your Saturday nights watching Netflix (every weekend…). Talk to all the boys you meet – they’re good friends too. Do not give up the opportunity to travel, even if it’s just to the neighboring city for a day. Love the person you love and visit them/see them when you can and want to. Do everything and anything you want because you don’t want to wake up halfway through your junior year and realize you gave up the craziest and most exciting years of your life for someone who is temporary.

What do I do besides school?

Anything you want! 8 am yoga? Yes. Eat 4 plates of mashed potatoes in the dining hall? Go for it. Join clubs, go to free on-campus events, take a nap. There’s so much more to do and explore in college. There are tons of clubs to learn about and exhibits to see. Go to all of the activity fairs at the beginning of each semester. You may never realize that your passion is belly dance until you sign up for the first club meeting. Also remember to take time to recharge. College schedules demand a lot more time and energy than high school. Don’t overload your schedule too much with extracurricular activities.

What if I don’t know what I’m doing?

None of us do. Seriously, take all of your Gen Eds first if you’re really confused about your major – even if you’re already declared. You have until your second semester sophomore year – that’s 4 semesters and around 20 classes to find your passion. Don’t stress out about it. There are also tons of campus resources to help you every step of the way. Class advisers and career services can help you choose classes and find internships and jobs. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

What’s your biggest piece of advice?

Have fun and don’t stress out. Remember that you’re going to figure it all out and everything will be okay. You will fail a test or two. You will fight with your friends. You will get your heart broken. You will pull a week of no sleep during finals and midterms. But you will also get a great internship. You will dance on tables and have the time of your life.

Remember, it goes by fast – make the most of it.

Have a great four years, see you on the other side of the graduation stage.

Love,

Your future self.

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