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To my freshman self who had to look up walking directions my first week of classes and who was over the “college” thing the first day:

It was hard—much harder than I thought. Even though my school was less than thirty minutes from my home, I struggled. I went from a small private school with a population less than 400 students to a university with more than 11,000 students. Even though I was technically surrounded by more people, I felt immensely more lonely. For one, it was quieter. I quickly learned that college students keep more to themselves than high school students. While this has positives such as eliminating drama and more individualized expression, it makes it harder to connect with people. It wasn’t really until spring semester that I started to connect with some people. To be honest, it’s still a process. Thank God I had my sister at the same school as me, or else it would’ve been much worse. Having an older sister at the same school made it feel like someone paved the way for me.

While all of this could sound negative, I did have some great moments freshman year. I joined Her campus and got to express myself through what I love doing, writing. I also went on mini weekend trips, went to football games, went out some weekends, listened to lots of Brendan Abernathy, discovered a coffee shop where my sister and I had many study dates, and learned so much about communication. It’s actually funny to me because when I chose my major, I honestly had no idea exactly what it was. I chose it because others said it would be a good fit for my interests. Despite not knowing what I was getting myself into, I fell in love with the real-life application of it. My classes honestly helped me understand my own life more. 

So what would my advice be for incoming freshmen? It’s hard because everyone’s expectations and experiences are so different. Personally, I was terrified of college. I was even supposed to live on campus and called out of it last minute because of this fear. Although, I don’t regret living at home my first year. That being said, my first piece of advice is to take college at your own pace, despite what everyone else is doing. If you want to live at home, go for it. If you want to live on campus, go for it. If you don’t even want to go to college, go for it. Everyone is so different, and college is something that really emphasized that point for me. My second piece of advice is to soak up every bit of information you hear/learn. Everyone knows people go to college to learn, but try not to only be learning when doing assignments for a grade. What I have learned in my classes is greater than a grade or an A+. Some of the best things I have learned have even been off-topic pieces of advice my professors have told the class about personal experiences, relationships, and future career tips. Write things down, ask questions, and do not be scared to get involved! My last piece of advice is to not have a bad attitude. Don’t be so scared and blow it for yourself. Almost half of outcomes have to do with your expectations and attitude about what’s going on. Try hard to focus on the good aspects and have a positive lookout, even when things aren’t looking up. You would be surprised at how much your own attitude affects your experiences. 

In addition to having a good attitude, I’ve also learned that sometimes the best thing to do is to lay back and let things work out the way they should. That statement goes for friendships, relationships, family, and more. Life can be hard and take blood, sweat, and tears to get through sometimes. Through the midst of everything, you are right where you need to be right now—never forget that. 

Caroline Surface

Coastal Carolina '25

Caroline is an Interactive Journalism Communication major at Coastal Carolina University. She is from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and has two cats and one dog. She was on the yearbook team all throughout high school, which is where she found her passion of telling stories through writing.
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