Below is a letter I wrote to myself, that I wish I could send to the past. I’m posting it here in the hope that some incoming freshmen can read it and soak up all my wisdom from my first year of college.
Me and my dad, the first time I visited Sewanee
Congratulations! you graduated and you are so lucky to be heading to Sewanee in a couple months! It feels like it’s been years since I was where you are, when really it’s only been one. The thing I was most unprepared for was how much I would change. I know how much you want to get out of your hometown and get ready to explore the world, which has just grown a little bigger, but remember where you’re from.
You have so many expectations of who you will become and what you will do, I suggest you let go of them. Be prepared to try anything, but don’t be a pushover. You know who you are and where you stand. Stay there and trust yourself. You will meet people who are different than you. Never judge them, but that doesn’t mean you need to do as they do. What I’ve learned this year is that everyone stands in different places, and you can be okay with that without moving from your place to theirs.
Kindness and respect will always get you where you need to go, and you should always demand those things from the people in your life. Remember that you are beautiful and special. Remember those things especially on the nights when your world feels like it’s falling apart and all you want is to go home and cry. College is hard, and first semester is hardest. I struggled to make friends, so when the time comes when you feel alone and heartsick, remember this: there is a house full of people waiting to love you. Don’t give up hope. Not that it was all bad, of course.
You will gain so much knowledge about the world, yourself, and other people. You will have so much fun, and you don’t have to go crazy to have a good time. So many freshmen believe that being blackout drunk and insane every weekend is the only way to have fun, and I promise that isn’t true. Fun isn’t hard to have, it’s all about the people you’re with and how present you are.
Wherever you are, be there completely, and don’t waste a minute of it. The best four years of your life are about to start, so be ready and be happy because it’s going to be great!
“You’re off to great places, today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”