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7 Things I Wish I Could Have Told My Freshman Self

With only one quarter left in my undergraduate journey, I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting back on myself and my time at UC Davis. In some ways, it feels like these four years went by in the blink of an eye, but when I really start to dig deep into my memories of each quarter, I can remember instances of growth and challenge and memories of struggle and joy.

I needed these four years to grow and develop into who I am today, but if I could go back to the first day of my freshman year and have a conversation with myself outside of my dorm room in Kearney Hall, I’d tell myself these seven things.

1. A bad grade will not haunt you forever

While less-than-ideal grades seem like the most stressful thing at the moment, they really don’t matter too much in the long run. You’ll very quickly get over the bad grade and might even laugh about how much you cared. Try to take your mind out of your bubble and think of the bigger picture. You’re here for an education and to contribute to society, not to spend hours worrying about the letters on a transcript.

2. Friends will come and go

You know those friends you made your freshman year and promised to stay close with forever? Well, guess what? You probably won’t. Once you leave the dorms, dynamics change. People begin to figure out what their passions are and people naturally drift apart. Some friends from your freshman year might just withstand the years, but some won’t and that’s just a part of growing up and changing.  

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3. Find a balance between saying yes and staying in

You don’t have to go out every weekend or make it out to every group dinner. That being said, make sure you do take those opportunities to step out of your comfort zone and be a “yes man” or “yes womxn.” Finding a balance between rest and adventure is important and something I learned after making the mistake of pushing myself over the top too many times.  

4. Don’t be afraid to break out of your routine

Creating a routine for my day and week is something that grounds me and keeps me focused, but there have been many days where I’ve had to alter my routine as new activities or obstacles come up. You might lose sleep or you might get a little too much. You might make it to the gym consistently every day or not at all for a week. Be receptive and accommodating to whatever life might throw at you, because in four years…there’s going to be a lot!

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5. Be open to change

When I was a freshman, I was really interested in spoken word. And now as a senior, I’ve become passionate about exercising and health. Your interests will change with the seasons, and it’s important to try new things and let yourself change. Sure, I look back at my freshman ambitions fondly, but I’ve grown and changed in so many great ways since then.

6. Quitting something is okay

The beauty of having so many clubs, organizations, jobs, and opportunities on campus is the ability to try everything a little bit and pick something that sticks. Remember when you were a kid and your parents signed you up for every sports and music class? It’s kind of like that. And quitting when something becomes uninteresting or too difficult is perfectly fine and actually healthy!

7. You’ll have your own set of lessons by the end of your senior year

By the end of your undergraduate experience, you’ll have your own set of personal wisdoms. Everyone goes through their own unique challenges and experiences and no advice can apply to everyone. So stay open-minded, ride the wave of change and enjoy your experience of college!

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Maria is a fourth year at University of California, Davis where she is double majoring in Economics and Comparative Literature. When she's not studying for her classes or writing up an article, you can find her playing soccer with her friends, working with the UCD School of Education or chowing down on some delicious Thai food with her roommates.
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