An Open Letter To the Incoming Class of 2021 from a Graduating Senior

Dear Soon-To-Be College Freshmen,

First, congratulations on embarking on an unforgettable journey! College lives up to the hype, and (I’m cringing while writing this) is truly the “best four years of your life”, as you’ve heard countless family members utter since the beginning of time. From putting yourself out there and meeting new people, to experiencing a remarkable amount of “firsts”, college is all about exploring what makes you, you.

It’s also a time when you’re going to feel alone, but that’s okay. Pushing both academic and personal boundaries, college is all about becoming comfortable with the fact that you are independent. It’ll teach you that sometimes all you can depend on is yourself. And, it’ll teach you who you can depend on during difficult situations. It’s helpful to remember that you’ll be thrust into a plethora of new social and academic experiences, and it won’t be unusual to find yourself confused, sad, and lonely at the same time. Chances are that at least twenty people living on your freshman year floor will being feeling the same way at any given moment.

Take advantage of what your school has to offer. Join clubs, give back to your community, and attend campus run events. These are promoted during every college admission tour because it does make your campus feel like home. And, speaking of home, don’t worry if you’re not as excited about this journey during the first month of school. Hell, it took me until January of second semester to make my college feel like my second home. However, you’ll experience a night when you’re trekking back from the library and will glance at your campus’ quad, and, all of sudden, you’ll smile and remember your heart can live in two places. Once you travel back to your hometown, you'll feel like a part of you is missing.

Sometimes you’ll meet your best friends in your orientation group, or by sitting with random people in the dining hall, or maybe they’ll be in your first class. You have to be prepared to meet people that will, forever, change your outlook on life. Keep your heart and mind open when you attend your first class or eat your first lunch in the dining hall because you never know who might stumble in and ask if the seat next to you is empty.

Cherish every moment that you spend watching cheesy awards shows with your friends, complaining about unfair assignments, and challenging yourself in areas you’re not comfortable in. Take a class that is out of your comfort zone. Choose paper topics and research projects that you’re passionate about. Make mistakes. Study hard for exams but also remember to indulge in self-care. Spend time with your friends and make french toast at 11:00 PM. Go to your professors’ office hours and get to know them! Do what makes you smile. Enjoy your journey.

College unfortunately doesn’t last forever, but thankfully the memories do.

Sincerely,

A Graduating College Senior