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An Open Letter to Incoming Freshmen

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Penn chapter.
Dear Freshman,
I am not old, and I am certainly not wise, but I do know more than you. Yes, you might think you know everything. Yes, you might think that you’ve always defied expectations and that you’ve always been in control of your life. Yes, you might think that you don’t have to listen to me because you’re awesome and know exactly what you want from life and what you need to do to get it. Great. Awesome. You’re super confident, and I appreciate that, but put down your sass for one moment and listen to me.
I am not trying to act like a parent; I am not trying to counsel you because I think you don’t understand who you are or what you want. I am not assuming that you’re a sexually confused freshman eager or that scared for the next four years. You might be perfectly prepared and already know everything I am going to talk about, but chances are you don’t or that you need to hear it one more time. 
You don’t have to listen, but at least hear me out. As a future fellow student I deserve that much, right? So here we go. Here are my two cents about freshman year.
1. High School Is Behind You 
Honestly, no one cares about who you were (unless you killed someone on purpose…that’ll probably be a roadblock for some budding friendships). College is about reinventing yourself; be the same person you were or don’t, but don’t keep bringing back the past like it’s a resume for friendship. You cured cancer? Awesome. You won state? Go Champ. You got a 2400 on your SAT? Yay smarty. I. DON’T. CARE. High school is behind you. We’re all at the same school now. Don’t be that kid that feels like he/she has to bring up all of their past accomplishments to
be cool or fit in. You’ll fit in just fine if you do you. So let the past go and start anew.
2. Pace Yourself and Understand Your Limits
Whether this is with joining clubs, going to parties, or just plan studying, you need to know what is best for you.
Clubs: You’re going to want to join everything, and that’s awesome, but practice times add up, and academics come first. Some clubs are basically like varsity sports, some clubs you forget you’re in. Either way, being involved in campus activities is great, but if you are too overwhelmed, that’s not going to be benefitting anybody. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices with what you are involved in, and that sucks, but you will be grateful in the end that you trimmed your schedule to something more manageable. You won’t be running around everywhere, and the activities that you are a part of will be that much more meaningful.
Parties: It doesn’t matter if you were 20 shot Tina in high school or if you didn’t even know what beer was before college. Enough alcohol and drugs are going to be available on campus to get anyone admitted into the hospital. So you want to experiment? Fine, but be smart, be aware of the rules, and be safe. Know what you can and cannot handle, and do not be afraid to say no. No amount of “partying,” “raging,” or “turning-up” is worth a hefty hospital bill, a hangover, and a night you can’t remember.
Studying: Some people can pull 3-day all-nighters; I can’t function the next day if I don’t get 8-9 hours of sleep every night. It is certainly tempting to stay up late with all of your friends, but if you know that you can’t handle it, then take a break. Everyone has developed his/her own study habits; so if everyone is cramming for the final and running on one hour of sleep, don’t feel like you have to too. Everyone prepares differently, just make sure you’re prepared.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Make a Fool Of Yourself
This is pretty simple, but I just wanted to repeat it. Go for things that you don’t think you’ll be good at; try things you are interested in. It doesn’t matter if you don’t make it to the second round of auditions or if you never played the sport in your life. College is the last time you will be really able to delve into these types of activities so don’t pass up the experience while you have the chance. You’ll regret not going for it later. 
Overall, remember that college brings many things that are amazing are crucial to the collegiate experience. However, above all, you are here to learn. Don’t sacrifice your academics for one night of debauchery, but don’t also limit your fun because you’re too worried about next week’s homework assignment. Find a balance and you’ll have a great time.