Anna Schultz-College Hat Flat Lay Cropped

An Open Letter to my Freshman Year Self

Dear Freshman Year Savannah,

I know you are homesick right now. Whether you had lived 5 minutes away or 500 miles, it was inevitable that you were going to miss home. It’s been a rough semester for you, and it’s only October. But you better buckle your seat belt because a lot of growth is about to come out of your freshman year. So, sit back and let me tell you some things I wish someone told you then. 

1. Call your family. 

As you go through Furman, you will start to use your walks to-and-from class to call your Sitti (grandma) or to Facetime one of your siblings. So, do that more & don’t think as a freshman that it’s lame to call home often. You’re transitioning to a completely new and exciting lifestyle, but with that comes a lot of anxieties and unknown, so it is good to be able to call people you find comfort in. Your family will appreciate it too. 

2. You won’t find your “Girl Gang” right away. 

Quite frankly, you won’t find your “Girl Gang” at all. What you will find out is you thrive when you have individual relationships with girls, rather than secluding yourself to just finding a “group.” I know you think all you need to find are your bridesmaids in your wedding, but at Furman, there are so many amazing and impactful people you will meet. Just allow yourself. DM people to get lunch, introduce yourself to people you don’t know, reach out to people in your classes. Everybody wants a new friend. 

3. You will not find your husband freshman year. 

Please throw that idea out of the window. For some reason, Nicholas Sparks movies and the whole Hallmark channel made you think the first week of classes you were going to find “the one.” You won’t be finding “the one” any time soon, BUT you’ll find something even better: yourself. Through your trial-and-errors with boys, friends, classes, etc, you will grow to discover more about yourself and trust me, that is WAY better than finding “the one.”

4. Be yourself. 

Dance in the Dining Hall, invite people to have concerts in your dorm, laugh so loud people will stare at you, join clubs you are interested in (not the ones your friends are interested), and always make everybody you meet feel like somebody. Don’t try to dull your personality to fit into a mold you think you need to fit into. Everyone at Furman is unique, just like you!

5. Be vulnerable.

This one took me a while to learn, and I’ll admit it took me past freshman year in order to achieve this, but to my freshman year self, be vulnerable. Open up to the friends trying to get to know you and your story. Don’t be ashamed of who you are and don’t feel embarrassed to express emotion, whether it be pure excitement or sadness. Life is tough sometimes, and thankfully at Furman, you will have people waiting in your corner to help pick you up when you’re down and then lift you back up. You just need to open up. 

These five pieces of advice live with me today as a junior and I hope the message spreads to any freshmen right now going through her own personal growth and development. Adjusting to college is one of the hardest things I have done, but it has also been the most rewarding and educational experience for me. There have been lots of tears, lots of “wtf” moments, lots of days where everything has gone wrong and more. But there also has been lots of laughs, lots of screaming with excitement about something good, hugs from friends, and moments I will remember for the rest of my life. 

 So, to any freshman struggling out there, keep your head up, be vulnerable, and enjoy the ride.