An Open Letter to My Freshman Year

After the craziness of finals and move out day, my freshman year of college is over. It’s crazy how quickly time flies. After a year of so many highs and lows, it is important to reflect. I’ve always felt that when you reflect on your own experiences you can learn, improve yourself, and make what’s next even better. And maybe, hearing my experience can help an incoming freshman, or someone else. So collegiates, this is an open letter to my freshman year. 

Dear Freshman Year, 

It’s been a crazy year. In adjusting to college life there have been so many crazy highs and lows. First off, I want to thank you for all you’ve taught me. This year I’ve learned so much about myself, who I want to become, how to deal with change, and adulting. If nothing else, this year has been a year of tremendous growth.

The biggest truth I learned is that no one has college figured out, and most people aren’t even sure if they chose the right school. That is totally normal and okay. I’m going to be super honest: I thought I made the wrong choice my first few weeks at Scranton. I went home more weekends than I should have, and called my mom crying a few times. I was seriously considering transferring. It is okay to not know if your school is the one for you, or what you want to do with your life. College is actually the best time to not know, and to question things. If you’re not sure what you want to do, or what you want to major in – that’s okay. I started this year as a general Communications major with a pre-law track. After taking one Public Relations class, I was hooked and changed my major to Strategic Communications and declared a Legal Studies Concentration. Maybe I’ll change my mind again, and that’s’ okay. I think for me, transferring would’ve been so hard, and I already had roots here. So, I opted not to. That was my choice, and it’s not the choice everyone else who felt that way would make. That’s okay too. 

Academically, this year had it’s up and downs. I loved most of my classes – some challenged me, and some were a bore. But having a major setback definitely impacted my studies. Having a concussion, and sick family members caused me to miss more classes than I was comfortable with. It taught me the importance of communicating with professors and utilizing office hours. If there’s a legitimate excuse and you put in effort, professors can be very understanding and will help you out.

One of the best things about this year was that I had so many opportunities to involve myself. From College Democrats, to Her Campus, to volunteering - I truly can say that I was very involved my first year. I took on six clubs and volunteer positions at the beginning of this year and two leadership positions. This taught me not to spread myself too thin, and that I cannot, in fact, do it all, have a social life, make the Dean’s List, and get a reasonable amount of sleep. Next year my main focus will be on my major passions: being Campus Correspondent for Her Campus, being Vice President of College Democrats, and PR Society. Getting involved is crucial as a freshman: it helps you find people and your place on campus. There are opportunities everywhere, and if you seek them out like I did, you will find the right ones for you. 

The biggest challenge for me and many other freshmen, was finding my place on campus and finding my people.  A major thing I learned is that you won’t necessarily become friends with the first people you meet in college. I thought the group of people I first befriended would be my friends through college, I was wrong. In college, friend groups are constantly changing.  When you live with people, and are with them 24/7, there can be a lot of drama. Cutting toxic people out is okay. Don’t engage with petty immature drama that’s beneath you – the best revenge is no revenge. Find people who make you happy and who you have fun with. I have a few consistent friends that I’ve made this year, but not a solid friend group, & I’ve learned there are a lot of people in my position.  Even if you haven’t found your people freshman year, your people are there. You will find them - give it time.

Another major takeaway: Adulting is hard. As a freshman, it’s your first time living away from home. As a college student, getting enough sleep is a rarity, the workload is a lot, there are extracurriculars that you want to be involved with and you are trying to actually have a social life. This leaves not a lot of time for people to relax, and is a lot of stress. I got through the year on four hours of sleep per night, espresso and lots of matcha. Taking time for yourself whether it’s going to the gym, doing a facemask, or just talking with a friend is crucial. It’s okay to be not okay. Also, never be afraid to seek help when you need it. 

This has truly been an eye opening year. However, it has taught me a lot and I’m so excited for the opportunities ahead.