Dear Freshman Self,
I know starting college scares you. Terrifies you. After finding a place in high school, the idea of starting over in some place new turns the summer after high school into an anxiety fest. Will you fail? Will you be lonely? Will you hate your classes?
You end up wasting half your summer worrying about your first year of college.
From your future, junior-year self, here are some words I wish you heard when you got that acceptance letter, words I wish you could take to heart then, so you could stop worrying so much.
Study. For the love of your sanity, actually study. High school seemed super easy because high school teachers cared enough to make sure everyone understood the lessons. Professors don’t have time for that. Study on your own, passing is all on you.
Get out. You bond with your best friend while making cookies and playing cards with a cop. Your squad came together over a puzzle in the freshman lounge. Hiding in your dorm won’t do anything for you. Get out into the world, make friends, join a club, meet life halfway. Your friends from high school live their own lives, going through just as much as you when beginning their life after high school. You may not speak to any of them for months. You may not speak to any of them again. I know you make a habit of curling up in bed with Netflix and working alone but don’t let it become your life. There’s so much going on outside those dorm room walls. Go look for it.
You don’t know exactly what you want to do and that’s fine. Your major is going to change. No way in this world you stay a physics major. You dropped out of the intro class after one semester. Don’t worry though because things will work out. Take internships and opportunities as they come to you.
You made it into the college of your dreams. The campus is beautiful, walkable and prestigious. Who knew your tuition payment came with a free ticket on an emotional roller coaster? Heaven and horror all in one. Everything turned upside down, right side up, inside out, every which way. Yet, you survive. You almost die—twice!—due to food allergies and the stress drives you nearly mad but you survive. Each semester brings new messes to muddle through. Slowly, slowly, as you grow up and become an adult, you learn to cope.
You’re ready for college. As wild as it sounds, this is the best time of your life. You’re surrounded with the best people. You’re at the best place. You’re taking the best opportunities. Your friends support you, chill with you, love you. You haven’t given up on any of your dreams. You’ve grown into a person you can be proud of. Even with all the downs between the ups, you can be proud of yourself.
You don’t need to be scared, you shy little freshman. You picked the right school for you. You found the right friend group. You’ll find the perfect major for you and you’ll graduate.
Dear freshman me, you are going to be just fine.