Dear Freshman Year,
It’s completely ridiculous how 8 months ago feels forever ago, but then again, just like it was yesterday. The only real reason I know this much time has passed is because I am a completely different person than I was when I first came to college. This is a letter to myself-to remind me where I’ve been and where I want to go, but also to you, whether you are headed to, in, or out of college. This is a reminder of what happens as you grow up, and all that you have to look forward to.
Eight months ago, I was a nervous high schooler majoring in Spanish Education in a big city that I had no idea how to navigate. Eight months ago, I was nervous and had no idea where my future was headed. Over these past few months, I have learned so much about myself than I ever could have imagined.
First, I learned just how little I actually knew. In high school, after surviving the depths of middle school, everyone feels more confident and begins on the path of finding themselves. After going to college, I realized just how little I had actually discovered, and how much further I want to go. I learned that life is chaos. Organized chaos, but chaos nonetheless. I learned how to navigate life and survive on my own. Well, kind of on my own.
The ways my friendships have changed over the last 8 months reminds me just how much I love the people who are in my life. Yes, when you go to college, friendships change. Old friends move away, you go through things with new people, and sometimes you find yourself not as close to those who you used to spend everyday with in high school. That’s okay. People aren’t always meant to stay in your life forever. They play a part in your story and you in theirs, and then there is a fork in the road and you both move on. This doesn’t mean they can’t stay in you heart-they you can’t cherish your memories together forever. It just means you both are growing into the new chapter of your lives. Let them go, let them discover who they are, and know that you played a part in getting them their, regardless of what your relationship is now. If you still really care about these people, you have to let them go. Cherish the fact that you knew them at the beginning of their great life that they are building. Love them-whether you are side by side or far apart, and let that be enough.
In the same way, freshman year blesses you with so many new, amazing people in your life. These people grow so close to you because you are living together. They essentially become your family away from home. They make late study sessions bearable, make you laugh when you want to cry, and make sure you are eating decent enough to continue functioning. I’m still so confused how I’ve made it 18 years without these humans by my side. They are unique and vary in personalities and interests, but that’s the great thing about college. You have access to so many different people and everyone is looking for friends. I’m so incredibly thankful for the people who have helped me make it through the bumps and laughs of this year-without them I would be completely lost. Remember to tell these people this. Remind them how much you love them. Don’t let it go unnoticed.
After moving away from home, you’ll look at your parents in a completely different light. As someone who was super excited to leave the nest-I now wish I had cherished the time at home more. After being under-appreciated for 18 years, my parents are my absolute best friends and I don’t realize why I didn’t see them this way before. Parents are your biggest fans, biggest supporters, and when you realize just how crucial their support is, you’ll spend the rest of your life making up for the 18 years when they were “just your parents”. They are my rock and I love them more than I could ever express in words. Call home. Let them know you miss them-because eventually it’ll hit you like a ton of bricks. They’ll be there when you are freaking out about your major, a boy, or even when you’ve run out of the money that you made over the summer. Don’t take them for granted.
College teaches you the importance of money. And while yes, we all have a working knowledge by the end of high school, the real world is so different. I in no way have mastered this skill either. You just learn how to balance eating out and activities. On top of that, you’ll realize just how lucky you are to be blessed enough to pursue higher education. Books are expensive. Food can be too, but don’t say no to going out all the time, you’ll miss out on memories. Find a balance. This is another aspect that you’ll learn about in college. You are living with your friends, so balancing fun and school work can be challenging at times. No worries, by the end of the year, you’ll be a pro at time management.
Lastly, I’ve learned so much about myself in this year of school and my self love has grown exponentially. I now embrace what makes me different because it makes me interesting and unique. I love who I am and who I aim to be and the people around me support that. College allows you to see a bigger plan than what was high school and lets you discover just how great you are in your own way.
And to wrap up this long winded letter-congrats if you made it this far with our dwindling attention spans-I in no way had an easy transition to college. I was home way more than I wanted because of me being sick, I ended up in the hospital far too many times, and I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted. And while this was hard, I wouldn’t have my year be any other way. It pushed me to my limits only to help me discover that I’m stronger than I believed. I’m okay. I can’t imagine myself anywhere else than where I am and who I am now. I’m just looking forward to the future. This is only the beginning of my story.
An Almost Sophomore