An Open Letter to the Class of 2020

To the ladies of the Class of 2020,

Congratulations! High school is finally coming to an end and you’re getting ready to enter the world of college next fall. I remember being so excited, but when I got here a few things were overwhelming. I’ve been at SMU one year now and it’s actually crazy how fast the year went by. During the first few months I had a long list of things I wish someone had told me. And, out of the kindness of my heart, I am going to tell them to you.

You’re probably going to spend all summer trying to decide what to bring. I know I did. Obviously you want shirts and shoes and shorts and jeans. You know, clothing. Pack things you can walk to class in when its 95 degrees and still look cute. Here are a few of the “extras” I wish someone had clued me in on:

1. Cocktail/party dress: When I first came to SMU I had no clue that formals were a thing. And people do dress in semi-formal attire. Even if you don’t go to an actual formal, there are a few cocktail-dress appropriate events. I suggest bringing one or two, but also having a little bit of money set aside so you can go to Snider Plaza or NorthPark to find something cute. Bonus: its fun to shop with friends and you can make sure the dress style goes along with what other people are wearing.

2. Boulevarding clothes: A white dress for the first Boulevard, red and blue dresses for the others, and cowboy boots. That’s the definitive Boulevarding uniform.

3. Costume party stuffI really didn’t know if people dressed up for theme parties. When I first went out I was really worried it would be a “freshman move” to dress up. It’s not. There will always be people dressed up in their best Risky Business/Jersey/Neon costume. If there isn’t a theme, I like to go jeans, wedges, and a cute tank top. Other people do dresses or skirts (usually a combination of tight and black). At 99 percent of events either option is A-Okay. Also bring frat converse or something similar. These are the shoes you really only wear going to parties and you don’t mind getting destroyed.

4. Business casual: I had one business casual outfit, which was fine for this year. But I’m definitely bringing more for next year. For things like the Tate Lecture Series, to receptions, to class presentations “business” attire is usually appropriate and sometimes required. Especially if you’re looking into a business major, there are tons of events where you need a blazer/dress/pants.

5. Dayquil, Nyquil, and cough medicine: We call it the "Peruna Plague" and when you have it the last thing you'll want to do is walk to CVS to get these bad boys. Its so much easier to have a supply in your room, so when you feel sick you can take medicine and just go back to sleep. Also: if you do feel sick try to go to class and stuff, but don’t neglect taking care of your body. It’s a huge transition and you need to sleep, eat well, and all of that.

6. Don’t bring your high school t-shirts: College is the land of free t-shirts, so bring one or two favorites but don’t go crazy. You’ll thank me later when you don’t have seventy shirts crammed in your dresser by the time you have to pack your room up during finals.

For the second part of this letter I will impart my wisdom unto you.  

Go to commons events. Life is easier when you know people in your dorm and the commons parties are fun. Actually just go to everything. You get to meet people and have really unique experiences. The UHP has fieldtrips every once in a while to things like the opera or ballet. The Tate Lecture Series is interesting and really cool people (like Rob Lowe and Condoleezza Rice) speak. Parties are easy places to meet friends. My biggest regret from first semester is not doing more. A night in with Netflix and pizza is awesome and you should take time for yourself. But, balance is important. Remember to go out and say yes to new experiences.

Literally just say hello to anyone. I met one of my closest friends first semester after he said, “I’m going to get lunch after this class if anyone would like to join me.” Class ended around 11 a.m. and several people went to go get lunch with him. Here’s the thing: everyone is new. If you’re worried about eating alone, just ask someone to join you. It’s not weird. I promise.  

Have fun, don’t take yourself too seriously, ask questions.

Good luck next year! You’re going to love it.