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A Year Ago Today: A Letter to My Freshman Year Self

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Dear Olivia,

It is true what they say, so much can change in a year. You feel scared, confused, conflicted, I could go on. And you’re right to feel that way. You have been through so much and you have so much more to go through. But I’m here to let you know it’ll all be okay.

You are going to have a rough couple of weeks. You are going to find out that people who you thought were going to be in your life forever aren’t going to be around much longer. It’s going to hurt a lot, and you’re going to feel like your world is coming apart. It’s not. You can’t see it now and probably won’t believe me, but you do get over it. Those girls you’re meeting, they are going to be the best thing that has ever happened to you. People come in and out of your life for a reason, however large or small it may be. But there are a select few that will be at your wedding, and you are going to meet them so soon. They’re actually sitting beside me now as I write this in your room sophomore year. Yeah, you don’t end up transferring. They make being here feel like a second home, and you can’t ever imagine being anywhere else.

That big friend group you feel excluded from, guess what? It’s not real. Well, at least in the sense that they are all already best friends after two weeks of school. Clinging to people because of convenience isn’t the same as friendship. I know it looks like everyone is having more fun than you and has it all figured out, but I promise you, what you see on Instagram is just a highlight reel. Call your mom as much as you need to. You know she’ll always pick up the phone. Everyone is feeling how you feel to some level, you just aren’t seeing it on their Snapchat story. You aren’t alone in this.

It’s okay to do things on your own! It’s not weird and people aren’t staring at you. Everyone has different schedules. If you’re hungry, go eat. Study in the cafe or library. Take a walk. Try something new. Meet some people. But most importantly, take care of yourself. Don’t worry too much about that boy texting you or if the girl you just met in astronomy liked you or not. Everything happens for a reason, and you’ll learn that soon enough. You don’t have to be social all the time, and you also don’t have to go out every night. Sure it’s fun, but if you need it, rest and relax. Trust me, that frat party can wait another weekend.

I don’t want to spoil all the good stuff to come this year, but I will summarize it for you because I know you’re nosy. You will meet some amazing people who you will consider your best friends. You’ll also meet people who you never expected to connect with, and some you wish you hadn’t. You won’t be the same person you graduated from high school as, and that’s for the better. Personal growth this year will be like no other. And if you’re worried about going back home for the summer don’t fret: you’re not. You get to do some of the things you’ve always wanted and more. You’ll leave in May excited to come back in the fall. I promise you it gets better.

I love you. You’ve got this.

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Olivia Vadnais

U Mass Amherst '25

Hi everyone, my name is Olivia and I am a freshman at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. I am very excited to join HerCampus this fall! I love reading, Taylor Swift, sports (especially basketball) and hanging out with friends and family. I am a management major and hope to end up double majoring in journalism as well.