Dear Freshmen

Dear freshmen, 


Whether you are a freshman in high school, college, or even graduate school, you are starting a new and extremely important journey of your life in extremely unusual circumstances. You must be thinking to yourself, “how am I supposed to make new friends?”, “how am I supposed to figure out what clubs and extracurriculars I want to do?”, and if you are in college, you must be thinking “how am I going to figure out what I want to major in if I can’t get the full experience of any of my classes?”.  While these are all valid questions, I want to give you some motivation to look beyond these questions and see the good in the world’s current situation. 


As a disclaimer, in no way am I dismissing or minimizing your pain. If I had to miss out on high school prom and graduation, I would be devastated. What happened to you was in no way fair or warranted, but it happened. We can’t dwell on things which we, quite literally in this case, have absolutely no control over. Let’s try our best to look above and beyond it. I want to give you three of my biggest pieces of advice, but flip them around to be corona-friendly.


The biggest piece of advice I would have to offer any fresham is to try to branch out as much as possible and meet new people. This was the best thing I ever did coming into college, and I would recommend it for everyone. Making new friends helps shed new perspectives on your life, plus they’ll probably be going into a similar career or area of study, so you will always have lots to talk about. This year, however, branching out will look a little different. I would say try your best to interact with people through zoom and class group chats. Don’t be afraid to send someone a private message telling them that you love their vibes and want to be friends. Remember, every single person in the world is in the same situation, and even if the friendship doesn’t work out, you can bet that you made them smile in that moment, and for me, that is a huge achievement in the midst of a global pandemic. 


My second piece of advice is to interact with your professors. Professors are so cool -  they are extremely passionate about the subject they are teaching and are honestly really fun to talk to. Normally, I would say go up to them after class and introduce yourself and consistently talk to them through the semester. This year, however, try to make appointments with them or visit them during their office hours. Just like the rest of us, they are lonely too, and some human interaction is always appreciated. You can even make up questions so you can keep the conversation going. The reason I think this is so important is because having a healthy relationship with your professor can do you so much good. It will, first and foremost, force you to gain more interest in the topic and make the class easier. Second of all, as an added bonus, will allow you to have an open communication line to ask for grade boosts and letters of recommendation!


My last biggest piece of advice is to find yourself. Wherever you were last year, it is likely that you morphed into a different person than who you started as. Whether this was from social influences or just the stress of school, you are now at a new place and this is the time to find who you are. Surround yourself with the types of people you want to be, find who you are specifically, not who you are with your friends or who you are in the classroom. Who you are in total solidarity. Just you. This year, this might look like lots of research, lots of Youtube videos, and lots of time outside and with your family. However, if it doesn’t look like this for you, don’t worry because everyone’s journey is different. One thing is for sure, though: finding yourself will require some self-realization, hard decisions, and lots of growth.But in the end, you will reveal the true you and it will all be worth it.


There you have it, three of my biggest pieces of advice, COVID-edition. I know online school is tough and it feels like you are missing out. I feel it too. Just hang on and enjoy the ride, though, because the only way across the pandemic is through, and we might as well make the most of it.