A Letter to my Freshman Self

Dear Ayanna,  

Your four years at Hampton are going to be life-changing. You’re going to achieve dreams that you never knew yourself to be capable of reaching. You’re going to begin preparing for your future. You’re going to meet people who will introduce you to some of your best lifetime memories. But your four years at Hampton will not be perfect. 

 You’re going to doubt yourself. You’re going to fail, and fail again. You’re going to be knocked down, but you won’t be broken. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to learn. You’re going to grow. 

You’ll spend the majority of your freshman year in your comfort zone until your surroundings and peers motivate you to step outside of it. You’ll stick to your small circle of friends from back home, not yet ready to build new relationships, and not yet ready to let your guard down. You’ll wish you spent more time reaching out to new people and getting more involved on campus. Then you’ll make a conscious decision to do just that. 

You’ll apply for the Editor-In-Chief position with the university’s official newspaper, The Hampton Script. Remember when I said you would doubt yourself? You’ll tell yourself that you won’t get the position and that you’re applying just to say you tried. Little do you know, this position is going to benefit you better than any extracurricular you’ve ever participated in. You’ll sharpen your leadership skills. You’ll have to act on your feet, create solutions for yourself, re-brand the newspaper from the ground up, and get the job done. 

You will join campus organizations like Campus Curlz, Inc. and HerCampus, organizations that will allow you to build those relationships you were too shy to create your freshman year. You’ll be able to express yourself, write, educate, and give back to the community-- all of which you’re extremely passionate about. The love you once had for writing will be reignited. 

Throughout your four years, you’re going to meet some once-in-a-lifetime people. You’re going to have some amazing bigs who provide you with the foundation you need to make a name for yourself at Hampton. They’ll look out for you in immeasurable ways, whether they’re sending you internship opportunities, cooking dinner for you, or making sure you get out of the dorm and have fun. There will be wine nights, taco nights, smores nights, and “what a night” nights. 

You’ll be blessed with a sisterhood that is the epitome of unconditional love. From each of your sisters, you’ll learn something new. Each one will possess traits that you’ll aspire to adopt. Your sisters will be there for you at your lowest, and every day you’ll appreciate them more. Every day you’ll love them a little harder.

And as your college tenure comes to a close, you’ll start preparing for what comes next. That’s the real question: What comes next? Some days, you’ll feel like you have it all figured out. Some days, you’ll stress yourself into tears trying to figure it out. But I want you to know this: you’ve made it so far since that day you moved into Twitchell Hall, 307. You’ve left your mark on friends, sisters, professors, and peers. You’ve given Hampton University everything you had. Whether you believe it or not, I know you’re prepared for the blessings you’re about to receive in return. 

XOXO, Ayanna Maxwell, Graduating Senior