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An Open Letter to My Freshman Year

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

Editor’s Note: This post is the first in a series written by one student in each class at Harvard. 


My dearest freshman year,

You know that moment of sheer blindness that occurs when you turn on the light in a pitch black room? I felt that way the moment I received an email from Harvard admissions reading, “Congratulations!” And I must admit that it has taken almost a year for my eyes to begin to adjust.

Just because my sight was impaired doesn’t mean I have absolutely no memory of the past twelve months; I can still remember the sounds accompanying key moments of my freshman year. The click of my dorm room lock when I turned the key to enter my new home. The plush “oomph” of the fabric seat as I sat down in the lecture hall of my first Harvard class. The creak of the collapsible desk when I finally felt ready to turn in my first midterm. And the choked up voices of my father, mother, and sisters as I called them repeatedly to confess my homesickness—I remember those sounds best of all.

But as I begin to adjust to the blinding possibilities, opportunities, and choices that Harvard represents, what do I see? The hesitant green of infant blades of grass heralding the birth of spring. The bright smiles of my intelligent-beyond-belief friends I’ve met here and know I will cherish for life. The delicious entrees presented by Annenberg—wait no, I take that last one back, trick of the light.

Honestly, though, I am just beginning to realize what that initial and vague “Congratulations!” encompassed. Congratulations, you will encounter the brightest minds of your age—and you are one of them. Congratulations, you will meet your political idol, Mitt Romney, in an intimate setting with about twenty other Harvard undergraduates. Congratulations, you are about to spend your life savings on Starbucks coffee and any device that promises a flash of warmth in the winter chills of Cambridge. But mostly, congratulations—you are about to embark on the greatest journey of your entire life.

My Harvard freshman year has been one of breathlessness, disorientation, and sheer excitement. In all honesty, I will be relieved to leave the whirlwind of freshman year behind and begin sophomore year a bit more grounded and prepared. And now that I’m beginning to recognize the promise and opportunity Harvard has to offer, I make a vow to uphold for my next three years: to keep my mind, heart, and eyes wide open. Because you never know just what you’ll see.