Somehow, I'm already halfway through my college career. I wanted to do something special for this post, and after reading Linden's post here, where she wrote a letter to her freshman self, I fell in love with the idea! This letter does focus on a few specific things regarding my freshman year, but a bulk of the letter focuses on themes that I have deemed important throughout my time here. A lot of what I have learned is in regard to finding my way, and defining who I am as an individual, and what I can do to grow and develop as a person, which is emphasized in the letter. This is written from my personal experience, but hopefully, y'all can take something away from it to apply to your own!
Welcome to college. I know you're extremely excited to begin this new journey, but also extremely nervous. Just know that by the end of this year, you're beginning to find your place, and you come to absolutely LOVE IU and everything that comes along with it. You definitely chose the right school. I decided to write a short letter to you outlining some things I've learned during the past two years.
You’re probably going to hate me for this, but I’m going to say it anyway. There are going to be a lot of changes in college. Like, a lot. And it’s still hard, and you still don’t really like it. BUT, from change stems development. And isn’t that partially what coming here is all about? College is a time to learn about yourself and develop. It’s that weird transition phase between becoming an adult but not really feeling like one. So be sure to go out of your comfort zone every once in a while. You won’t regret it. Just in case you’re worried, that spring break trip that you’re going to wait until the last minute to apply for? It changes your life and gives you so many wonderful opportunities down the road. Challenging yourself is where you develop the most, and going out of your comfort zone and trying new things leads you to meet so many wonderful, unique individuals that you wouldn’t have met otherwise.
On that note, BELIEVE in yourself. I know it’s hard sometimes, because college can make you question every life decision you have ever made, but it is so important. Thankfully, you have some super supportive, amazing individuals in your life, but you also need to be your own support system. As much as you want to be perfect, you are going to make mistakes. It’s bound to happen. But don’t let it deter you from learning from those mistakes and growing as a person. With this, please remember that grades aren't everything. True, you did come here to receive an education, and I know you strive for A’s in all of your classes, but getting a lower grade than expected on a test or not performing as well overall as you would have liked isn’t the end of the world. School is obviously important, but you’ll come to learn that you can gain as much knowledge outside of the classroom as inside. If you solely focus on your schoolwork, you’ll miss out on a lot of opportunities. So be sure to become involved in things you’re passionate about. Soon, involvement on campus and student orgs will be your best friends.
Another thing you will learn is that YOU need to take time for YOU. It’s important to be there for others when they need you, but please, take care of your health, and your sanity. Watching Netflix, taking a nap, jamming out to 90's Summer Hits, or whatever you're in the mood for, going out to dinner with friends, calling the fam, taking a long shower, whatever it is, make sure you do it. You will have lots of amazing days, but not every day is amazing. You’re going to have days where it seems like all of the forces of the universe are working against you and all of your meetings, events, tests, papers and projects are all due at once. Just breathe. It’s going to be stressful, and sometimes, you seriously cannot study anymore and just need to take a break and relax. You’ll struggle with balancing all of the various things you are doing at first, but that’s a-okay. Although it may be stormy now, it can't rain forever. So have trust in that, and trust in yourself. You've totally got this.
Last but not least, enjoy residence hall life. It is such a wonderful experience. I know you can’t wait to have air conditioning again and your own bathroom, but living on campus, especially with a floor full of some great people, is something you will come to miss. When you move into your apartment sometimes you’ll miss being able to walk down the hallway and play cards, have a spur of the moment snowball fight or just chill. Be sure to keep your door open during Welcome Week and get to know your floormates, because some of these girls will turn out to be your best friends! Knowing people on your floor will make moving from home to the dorm much easier.
You will have a lot of “firsts” this year, especially with being out on your own for the first time. Embrace every minute of it: the good, the bad and the ugly. It all makes up YOUR college experience that is unique to you. If I had to do it over, I wouldn't change a thing. There's no place I'd, or, I guess, we'd, rather be :) Shine on, superstar!
All my love,