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Letter to My Freshman Year Self: Emalee Gilligan

As my college journey comes to a close, I cannot help but look back on the whirlwind of the past four years. There have been many ups & downs, but that’s life right? The past four years have brought some of the most challenging parts of my life and some of the happiest, however, I am a strong believer in everything happens for a reason. Challenges help us grow into who we are meant to be. I never could have imagined what the past four years brought. I was an eager senior in high school who could not wait to move onto the next chapter in my life. I never could have predicted that a pandemic would have happened my junior year and completely alter everyone’s life and daily routine. I never could have predicted losing the loved ones that I did. On a more positive note, I never could have predicted the strength I have had to prevail. I never could have predicted I would be the President of two clubs, made life-long friends, be dating my best friend, have an awesome WFH internship, and have had many other awesome opportunities and projects. With that all said, this is what I would tell my freshman self.

1. People Come and Go

Everyone enters your life for a reason, they are either a blessing or lesson. Do not be mad at yourself for reminiscing on memories you had with people who are no longer in your life, it only makes it worse. Certain chapters of your life need to close, for even better ones to begin. The important people stick around.

2. Get Ready to Adapt to the Unexpected

There is barely anything about college that is accurate with your expectations. That is good and bad. I did receive many great opportunities in the past four years that made my college experience great, like Her Campus. However, be willing to adapt and step outside of your comfort zone. 

3. Stop the Comparison Game

We all know this is a hard game to play and it’s an easy one to get wrapped into especially with social media. You have to remember that most people only put their best moments on social media and not their lows. Everyone’s life looks awesome when you only focus on the good. You also have to remember that everyone is on their own path and journey. You cannot compare your life to theirs. You have your own unique talents and purpose.

4. No one Has it All Figured Out

This kind of plays off of the last one, but it’s true. No one truly has it all figured out, they are just pretending. Not even adults. You are growing and learning at every stage of your life. Stop stressing about trying to figure everything out and knowing exactly what you want to do with your life. The journey has just begun and everything will work out how it is meant too.   

5. Say Yes to New Things, but Do not Overwhelm Yourself

Some of my favorite memories the past few years honestly came from spontaneous last-minute decisions. Like a Paramore concert and a Bruins game. Also, saying yes to joining different clubs and events helped me make some of my best friends, memories, and brought networking opportunities. These were all amazing opportunities, but be careful not to overload your plate and leave time for yourself.

Here are a couple of small, but very important tips; continue to stay active and work out, don’t expect too much of others, stay in touch with people more, do not let others put you in a box, and do not let others tear you down. Lastly, especially do not take ANYTHING for granted, life is short and as everyone told me, these four years are going to fly by.


Your Future Self

Emalee is a Senior at Lasell University and the President of Her Campus Lasell. She is currently a Campus Community Management Intern for Her Campus! She is a Fashion Merchandising and Management major and a Communications minor. Besides Her Campus, she is the President of Newman Society, loves taking photos, going for hikes, and going to the beach.
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