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A Brutally Honest Letter to My Freshman Self

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

Dear Freshman Me,

Right now? Things aren’t the way you wanted it. That’s obviously not what you wanted to hear, but regardless of how good or bad life is I don’t think I could say that. You’ve spent nights lying awake, taking in every little detail of your bedroom since kindergarten, tearing up at the thought that this place would no longer be your home 365 days a year. You were going states away to a place where essentially no one from your high school was going, and you would be removed from all the things that made you feel safe. You certainly were overreacting to an extent, and that homesickness only applies on your worst days. You craved independence, and you’ll love it. It’s not perfect though, because being an only child watching a Halloween movie alone in her bedroom on a Friday night hurts a lot less for you at home than in college. Being an only child was always labeled “spoiled,” “self-centered,” and “entitled.” Everyone always forgot lonely, and I think we try to forget that too.

You relied on people, more often then you probably should’ve. You constantly trusted the wrong people and committed to those who would not commit a second of time for you. You were dumb (and you still are), and it was much harder to get on your feet than get swept off them. Your main “group” in high school could barely be considered a group, and all you wanted was a cohesive group of people to call you own. You wanted little group chats that buzz at 3am with gossip and chatter, getting ready in each other’s rooms and taking plenty of photos, doing everything together from dinner to homework to laundry. You grew up in an area where the most prominent content you saw from friends and classmates were from Big 10 sorority girls, and those with the luxury to do whatever they wanted when they wanted. You think that’s what you need to feel happy— feel less lonely— but it’s not.

College is a mix of things, and all of the cards seem to be turned against you. You’ll have a busy major, and an even busier schedule. That schedule is filled with classes with only men, men who’ll laugh at you when you accidentally enroll in the wrong lab group online. It reminds us of when we enrolled in the sports class during summer camp and the only other girl dropped out for jewelry (negative stereotypes aside, this genuinely happened!). You were lonely, and it was hard to make friends because it seemed like nobody else wanted to be friends with you. As cliché as it sounds, it isn’t true. At all. You’ll make plenty of friends in the unlikeliest of places, and certainly not in the way you expected or how any Instagram post or teen movie has depicted it. But you’ll love it, as weird and unlikely as it seems.

As all the first few weeks go, you’ll meet a handful of new people and stick with them for some time. You’ll think those people will last forever even though every article or TikTok says they one hundred percent will never last. Friends will come and go, and sometimes it’ll be your fault. Making friends becomes tiring, and sometimes you feel like you’ll never find those people who “click” with you in the same way home town friends did.

Another thing every article or TikTok says about college? More people feel the same way than you think. And you STILL won’t believe it until you talk to people who do. Most people’s lives are not as exciting as an influencers, and a huge percent will try to convince you they are. The girl seen with a huge group of people at lunch may be spending her Saturday alone in her dorm. The person who’s at the library up all night may post a party pic on a Thursday because their schedule is too packed to have time to socialize. People may have an abundance of social friends but no close intimate friends, and people may have intimate friends who are too busy or shy to go out and do the things you want to do.

College is not easy, and that’s okay. Aside from friends and academics, you will go through things for the first time (or multiple times!) that you never expected yourself to go through, and some things and people will make you question every decision you’ve made on the journey thus far. You’ll feel familiar pains, and maybe you’ll hurt harder than you ever have in your life. But you’re not easy either. Mom asked us if we wanted to drop sports camp when she found out about the other girl, but we said no. We don’t remember why (why does any 8 year old have any ulterior motives besides the immediate result?) but we knew we were determined to stand our ground. If 8-year-old us can stand our ground, I know that 18 and 20-year-old you can. She still is. She has lab right after she writes this, actually.

No one should be able to manipulate how you feel, whether it be about your friends, your social life, the way you look or dress, or about what you study. College is and never will be exactly how you see it in the media. It’s much harder, and a good chunk of it sometimes isn’t fun at all. That doesn’t mean you can’t go into everyday with a positive mindset to conquer the day and the determination to make those not-so-fun days the best of the week.

I know you wish these next 4 years are going to be exactly how you’ve been told and shown it will be all your life, but who wants to watch a movie if you already know the whole story? Things aren’t the way you wanted it, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t be great. College is going to become a never-ending rollercoaster, but you will make the most of it. I promise. You already are.


Future Me

Joan Tejera

U Conn '24

Joan is a junior at the University of Connecticut studying as a Computer Science and Engineering major. In her free time, she loves playing video games, listening to new music (constantly updating her Spotify playlists), and cooking & baking heart shaped things.