Prepping for my last finals week has me feeling nostalgic. Remembering freshman year, all the eager anticipation I showed up with, and all the crazy things that led to today, four-years the wiser, is what prompts this post.
So for some, this is an open letter of what to expect when you ship off to college in the fall. For others, I hope it is a welcome look back.
First, congratulations on graduating high-school. For some of you it may have been a struggle, for others it was a breeze. Accordingly, your parents are either very proud or sincerely relieved.
As hard as it is to pack up and say good-bye to your family and friends-since-forever, remember to be excited. The most important chapter of your life is about to start; going in with your chin raised high and your cheeks dry from tears is important.
College has a way of laughing at your idea of who you thought you should be and showing you just who you really are. Don’t worry, you’ll like this person more.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. You’re young exactly once; growing up is nothing to rush into. Stay out a little too late. Laugh just a bit too loud. Do something embarrassing every now and then. It’s okay.
Don’t be surprised that the first year is hard. This is normal. So while being far from home hurts your heart in unique ways, be mindful that everyone on your hall feels similarly.
Bond over this.
Don’t wallow. Go out, help each other get ready, share clothes, be generous with compliments, take lots of photos. Someone wants to throw a theme party? Get into it.
The only way to look stupid at a theme party is to act too cool for the theme.
Time will scoot by faster than you can imagine.
By October, you’ll have the famous freshman flu (hot tea, lemon, and a big squirt of honey cures all).
By November, you’ll have run out of money and Ramen noodles will be your new best friend…especially when they’re eaten with your other new best friends.
By the time Christmas rolls around, you’ll throw on some antlers (please no sexy Mrs. Claus outfits), organize a secret Santa (with a strict price limit), and stay up all night before heading home to a mom sure to gasp at how thin/fat you have gotten.
Take this with a grain of salt, whether you gain or lose weight its temporary.
And that’s it. You survived your first semester. The rest of them will pass far too quickly. But I don’t want to ruin all the surprises so instead, I’ll leave you with a few final survival tips.
1. Choose your friends wisely. You need them now more than you ever have before.
2. As exciting as these new friends are, remember the ones you left behind. Call frequently.
3. That goes for siblings as well. If you’re like me and all of you are close in age, there’s a chance your locations now dot various far-flung cities. Stay close, have group texts, send pictures, visit as often as possible.
4. It’s okay to miss class. Skip a couple, sleep in, stay in bed, go for a walk, take a long weekend, go to that concert even though its two hours away. And please, if the cute boy from the party last night asks you to breakfast, say yes.
5. Have a wonderful, wonderful time.