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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emerson chapter.

It wasn’t easy.

When they tell you that your freshman year of college is going to be one of the hardest years of your life, they aren’t lying.

Coming to Emerson College was a dream since I was eight years old. I stumbled across the college while on a trip with my family to the Boston Comic Con somewhere around eleven years ago and thought to myself, “I’m gonna end up here someday.” As I got older, my passion for film grew and the school happened to have a program that I knew would be perfect for me. I thought I was going to have the time of my life and it was going to be a breeze.

And then I actually showed up.

My dorm was a shoebox with a window looking right into the kitchen and I had no natural light whatsoever. I didn’t have any money. Even though I quickly made friends, for the first time in my life, I was truly alone. I was scared. A starving artist, if you will.

My classes became increasingly more difficult as the semester came into full swing, and I picked up a job on the side that was equally as demanding. I had essays upon essays, short films upon short films, and edits for my work that required a large amount of attention. I didn’t have any free time and I was thrown into a world that I never even got a taste of before.

I made occasional weekend trips home as Bangor, Maine was only a forty-five minute flight from Logan Airport. For a time, those weekends rejuvenated me. When going home was unrealistic or inaccessible, I made sure to put some nights aside to see my friends and my boyfriend so I wouldn’t go completely insane. That was what kept me going.

The times I managed to get out of Room 337 of the Little Building and skip around Boston Common at midnight were some of the most needed nights of that whole year. In finals week of first semester, I was holed up in my room for eight hours a day, editing a 10 minute documentary by myself and writing multiple ten page essays. I don’t even remember what my essays were about. I think one was about Aristotle? Anyways, my boyfriend would swing by, even when I told him not to, so I could have even two minutes of social interaction to bring myself back to reality and out of the grind. One of my friends even asked me to help her bring a vacuum back to the Resident Director so I could get out for a minute. These connections were the most needed people in my whole life.

I know that making friends in college is hard, but I would highly encourage anyone struggling or entering their freshman year to reach out, even if it doesn’t go anywhere. The friends I made brought me out of a funk that I wouldn’t have been able to myself. As someone who struggles with social anxiety, creating the group chat with those people was scary but ultimately so worth it. I learned through these experiences that there really is nothing to lose if you reach out and nothing comes of it, because eventually you will make connections that have the potential to last a lifetime.

Ultimately, advice I would give to anyone entering their freshman year is to achieve a work-life balance. It feels like an unattainable cliche, and it took me two semesters to even kind of achieve it, but it is critical and something worth working toward. Remember #YOLO? Yeah. I hate it, but it’s true. In a way, YOLO was my whole philosophy that year, and now I’m taking classes I think I’ll genuinely enjoy and I am rooming with the people who saved me. Things are good now. They do get better.

To any incoming Emerson College freshman who feels alone: you aren’t.

Jessika Landon is a third-year Emerson College student pursuing a major in Media Arts Production and a minor in Marketing Communication. She loves talking and writing about the media she loves and is a major advocate for self-love, mental health, and more.