Dear Freshman Carm,
It’s practically a year to the day before you move in to your freshman dorm. You’re so adorably excited, I can’t take it – but I need you to hold on to that excitement for me, OK? Because after move-in day is over and your parents are gone and it’s just you and the big high-rise dorm, you’re going to panic. The excitement will evaporate into Maryland’s humid summer air, and you’ll start to feel small, irrelevant and downright terrified. Despite the fact that you’re only 45 minutes from home, this does nothing to calm your fears.
Once the nerves go away, you’ll be fine. Like you always are, right? Remember what they told you at freshman orientation – everyone’s just as nervous as you are, no one’s as scary as they seem and so on and so forth. It’s 100 percent true. Talk to those girls across the hall. They don’t bite, even though their sports team allegiances don’t line up with your own. Spoiler alert: They become some of your nearest and dearest friends.
You’re going to become so comfortable with being alone, it’s not even funny. Honestly, I commend you from the future for figuring that out so soon in college. You’ll eat meals alone (all three, sometimes), you’ll study alone, you’ll go to the gym alone and believe me, you become a much better person for it. You need that you time. You always have. You always will.
While you’ll grow, you’ll also lose. Your faith will wobble. You’ll wonder how on Earth it’s possible to be a Christian and a college student because temptation is everywhere (Read: boys). But you’ve got the willpower and the strength of a thousand raging seas; you do pretty well. Boys are temporary. This education is what you’re here for, and don’t you forget it.
…but it’s okay to go on a date or two, girl. You’re not a saint. You’re human. And admit it, you wanna dance and you wanna meet boys.
I really need you to listen to me here because it wasn’t quite clicking your first semester. Or your second, for that matter. (Common theme, I’ve found with you.) It’s fine to do things outside of your journalism major. You’re so laser-focused on becoming the next Anderson Cooper that you start to lose time for the other things that make you, well, Carm. Don’t forget how much you love poetry, slam or written. You know those Zumba classes you went to with your friends in the spring? And how happy you were to groove and stay fit? Remember that love of dance and that feeling. Keep it. Chase it. You need your other passions to keep you well-rounded and sane.
Speaking of which, go to the soccer games. They will be the highlight of your entire year. They’re fun, fast-paced and the UMD Crew chants are some of the greatest you’ve ever heard. And did I mention cute players? Yes. Those, too. Also, indulge in soup at the North Campus Diner. People will think you’re weird for your love of soup, but they don’t know you or your struggles. Drink to your heart’s content.
Because before you know it, May will roll around, and after conquering two Finals Weeks, deadlines, 10-page papers, 8 a.m. math lectures, night classes, impulsive decisions, bad hair days and legendary weekends, I’ll be incredibly proud of you. Mistakes and all. I promise.
One year down, three more to go. Hang in there, babe.
P.S. You’ve got that cell phone for a reason: Call your parents and siblings. They worry about you more than you think. Check in once a week and remind them you’re still alive. You’re not that busy.