Dear incoming college freshmen,
I know how hard you’ve worked for this day. How many people you’ve told that you want to go out of state for college, to really embrace the new freedoms your diploma has opened up for you. I remember how big you smiled when clicking the “submit” button on the freshman tab on Alabama’s website. But I also know how hard it is for you to remember those moments today. I know how you’re looking at your mom and dad building your brand new furniture for your dorm and thinking in your head, “How could I have wished for this so soon?” I know the guilt you’re feeling standing in your new living room, guilty for leaving your family, friends, and pets for the school you so desperately wanted to go to. I know how scary this all is, how many tears you are holding back, and how many tears you will cry when the people you love most walk out of that door to head back to your old home 7 hours away. I am writing to you to ease your anxiety. This pit you are feeling in your stomach is not permanent. It is not something you will feel every waking hour for the next four years. Although you’re terrified today, one day soon you will wake up and feel at peace.
I remember watching my mom and dad hold back tears as they placed all my clothes in my new closet, took me grocery shopping to fill my empty shelves, and finally gave me my final hug before walking down the hallway of my freshman door. I could feel the emotions of all three of us, and I could feel them heavily for about three weeks after they left. I went through primary sorority recruitment and met many amazing friends along the way, but each night I laid in my bed and longed for a hug from my parents. With all of this being said, I can also tell you that it got better. Soon, I was walking to class and found myself smiling at my new home. Everything started to feel like a new version of “normal”, and I found my people. Sure I still missed my parents, but it was not the overwhelming sadness that it once was.
Even when all the newness settles down, there will still be times you wonder if you made the right decision, if you are where you’re supposed to be, or if your major is the right major for you. This is normal, expected, and means that you care about what you’re doing and spending time on, because you want it to be the right thing. Each day is what you make it, and I have truly found the most genuine happiness and fulfillment in my freshman year of college.
As I pack my things into boxes for the drive home, I find the same pit in my stomach and the same tears in my eyes – I do not want to leave my home. The people I have met, the experiences I’ve had, and the opportunities I’ve encountered since August have been the best components of my life thus far. Time really does fly when you’re having fun.
So to the incoming freshmen, I sincerely hope you enjoy your first year of college even half as much as I have enjoyed mine. Take lots of pictures and videos, enjoy every moment, and never underestimate how fast this will all go by. Good luck and Roll Tide!
The second semester college freshman