Letter to My Freshman Self

A few years ago, HCK decided to launch a “To My Younger Self” series, inspired in part by Ellyn Spragins’ books What I Know Now and If I’d Known Then. Over time, our writers have interviewed their older siblings, teachers, parents, grandparents, cousins, and friends, and asked them for some kernels of wisdom they wish they could have told their younger selves. This article, authored by Reagan Neviska, is a little different—she writes to her freshman self, from herself.


Dear Reagan,


Hello from senior year! It’s hard to believe that time has flown by. It’s 2017 and Harry Styles has gone solo, you’re taking a dance class, and you just might have got a job offer or two! I could write you to offer you a bunch of advice I wish I’d had before I came to Kenyon. I could tell you to avoid certain people, to avoid the Turkey salad in Peirce, and to set up Gmail filters way sooner. I could tell you not to take that second QR class, to practice music more, or definitely get a WKCO show before junior year (it’s the best). However, I won’t offer any words of advice. Instead, I will you tell you what you needed to hear all those nights when you felt like maybe you just shouldn’t be at college. So here’s what no one said, or maybe no one could. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.

No one ever just says, “you’ll be okay.” but as it turns out, you will be. I promise. You’ll be okay. Actually, you’ll be better than okay.



Freshman year sucks, but I’m happy to report that sophomore year, junior year, and senior year (minus comps, which you pass, by the way) suck a little less. Things might seem pretty bad right now. It’s true that, in the worst of it, it seems hard to believe that things get better. Trust me when I say they do. It might not be today, or tomorrow, or even next semester, but eventually, everything you are worried about now will seem insignificant. You probably feel like you’ve messed up so much and so many times that there is no turning back. There are a million cliched quotes I could throw at you, and people will love to give you advice, but at the end of the day, it’s these times which will fuel you to do everything you do in the future.

I wish you weren’t so hard on yourself. It’s hard to believe it, but you kind of love yourself now. Kind of. It’s a process, and it’s slow, but you’re getting there! I’m not saying you’re brave now, and in fact, I don’t think you’re any less likely to chat up that cutie who lives next door, but you do things now that would shock my freshman self. You carry yourself in a different way. You look at the world in a different way. You take yourself less seriously. You know what you want and you’re working toward that.

So, I don’t actually have a time machine, but maybe someday I will (here’s hoping I’m the one to discover that!). Here’s the thing, though. As awful as some memories of freshman year are, there were some good things mixed in there, too. You met people who, while they may not feel too significant now, will become some of the closest friends you’ve ever had (and between you and me, I think we’ll probably ever have). Four years here on the hill have changed you, and I think, maybe, you’ve made (or attempted to) change some things here, too.

Oh, by the way, you’re gonna meet Graham Gund, and it turns out, he’s just like the rest of us.


Much love,

Reagan (from four years in the future)



Image credits: Feature, 1, 2, 3