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Dear Freshman-Year-Me,


It’s okay to be a little nervous, most people are. In all honesty, you’re going to be homesick for the first couple of days, but that will pass pretty quickly. Your little dorm room with the blue string lights is going to become home before you know it, and even after you’ve moved out you’ll think of it fondly from time to time. You and your roommate will become the best of friends and soon you won’t be able to imagine life without her.


You’ll find your people. You’re going to be by each other’s sides through everything. They’re going to lift you up when you’re down and love you no matter what. And you’ll love them right back. You’re going to feel so whole you could burst. These days you’ll be sitting around all together, probably doing nothing, and the nostalgia of the past four years will hit you like a ton of bricks. They’re more than just friends - they’re family. Appreciate them always.

I probably don’t need to tell you this, but do your work. Study. You’re going to take a physics class at one point to fill some requirement. I kind of wish you wouldn’t. Good luck with that one.


Take care of your hair. You know this already but you’re going to put it through a lot. Blue to blonde to black, plus a couple more in between, isn’t the kindest hair care routine. Let’s be honest, though, you won’t regret a thing. That nervous blue-haired girl will probably live somewhere inside you forever, but you’re not really her anymore. Not now.  

This one might surprise you: you’re going to join a sorority! Well, sort of. It’s a long story. Sometimes you’ll wish you just went through recruitment first semester, but things have a way of working themselves out. Not only will it be a lot of fun, but it’ll be a home base. You’re going to make so many friends and so many memories that will stay with you forever.


You’re going to study abroad just like you’ve always wanted, but it won’t be in Spain like you thought. It’s going to be amazing! You’ll get to see the world, and with your best friends by your side. It’ll be crazy and exhausting and probably the best experience of your life. My advice: don’t come back.

Say YES to as much as you possibly can. Say yes to hanging out with friends, to going out, to opportunities, to trying new things, to adventuring. Put yourself out there. Take risks! You’ll regret it when you don’t. You’re going to get a tattoo - or three (sorry mom), you’ll add a second major, you’ll have pop punk power hours at two in the morning, you’ll join psych labs and be a teaching assistant, you’ll drink for your football team, you’ll rock a fanny pack, and you’ll kill the Halloween costume game time and time again.


You won’t fall in love, but people will come in and out of your life. Maybe they’ll teach you something, or maybe they’ll just be a funny story. Be open to it all. You’re going to stay single, but you’re going to grow so much as a person. You won’t see it happening at the time, but in four years you’ll be looking back in awe of how much you’ve changed.

You’re going to make a home in Amherst, the Western Massachusetts farm town you had no interest in coming to. You’ll make a home in dorm rooms, the sorority house, your favorite dining hall, sticky frat basements, your apartment, under the willow tree, the psych department, Argo, the library, the porch, any roof or balcony you can find, PVTA buses, Amherst nails, Stackers, McMurphy’s, parking lots during football season, and grassy fields come springtime.


College is going to be everything you wanted and more. Don’t waste a second of it, and don’t take anything for granted. These next four years are going to be some of the best of your life.


With love,



Images: 1, 2, 3, 4

Maria Arvanitis

U Mass Amherst '19

Maria is a senior studying psychology and English at UMass Amherst. She has a passion for traveling, animals, and 80s movies, and her hair color is always changing. Find her on Instagram: @m.ria
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