What I Wish I Knew As A Freshman

Greetings Freshmen,  

This is about to be the most amazing, difficult, exciting, trying and unexplainable time of your life so far. Here are some things I’ve learned the last few years and some of the things I wish I had known before diving head first into freshman year.  Mostly, these are things I learned the hard way.

First things first, let’s go over some logistics. A few pieces of tough love for you, young’ns.

Take your trusty high school memorabilia and tuck it safely away in your dresser at home. You’re a cool college kid now so you have a whole new source of free t-shirts at your disposal. Your high school shirts are just a bright, blinking “LOOK! I’M A FRESHMAN!” sign.

You can totally eat ice cream for breakfast or McDonald’s for every meal! You are in charge of your own life now! However, try to get some greens in every once in a blue moon though. No one is safe from the Freshman 15. If you have to bring snacks for in between your long day of classes, don’t bring a banana. It’s just awkward. 

Sure, it’s kind of exciting because you can use your laptop to take notes in class but don’t abuse that newfound freedom. Get off Facebook. I know it’s a lot of temptation and responsibility to have your computer open and not stalk your exes during your boring history class... Just don’t do it. It’s a slippery slope and then you’ll never take notes again and now everyone around you is looking over your shoulder and knows what a stalker you are.

Actually GO to games and sit in the student section. We’re pretty great now and not many other schools offer free tickets to their students. We’re #blessed and don’t take it for granted. Charge on, ya know?

Call your parents. Go to class. Befriend people in your classes. Get involved. Yadda yadda yadda- Trust me on these. They are very important.

Utilize all the free stuff. Free concerts, free pizza, free movies on the lawn. ANYTHING FREE. It may seem like a “total Freshman move” but you’re only a freshman once so take advantage of it.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, it’s time for the real talk.

First semester will kind of suck a little and there will be times you’ll want to transfer or move home or take a year off or drop out and become a flight attendant so you can travel the world because NO ONE HERE UNDERSTANDS YOU. Don’t. This place will soon take hold of your heart if you let it.  

Remember you don’t have to do everything everyone else is. If you know that painting or writing or watching SNL is how your want to spend your Saturdays, then do it! You aren’t missing out on too much if what you’re doing makes you feel most alive. Don’t feel intimidated if you’re the only roommate still watching re-runs of Freaks and Geeks. Or if you’re the only art major. Or if you’re still undecided- on pretty much everything.  Don’t feel like you need to create yourself or become something great or be “cool”, whatever that is, for people to like you. You already are great.

There are cute older boys with good hair who are studying important things and have important internships that will trick you into thinking they’re the most important thing of all. Here’s the real thing: boys don’t come to college and magically become intelligent, respectful, good-hearted gentlemen. It isn’t a direct correlation. You may have your heart tricked and stomped on and broken. It’ll suck but don’t let it close you up. There ARE some good people around. Just don’t waste your time on settling for the crappy ones, know your worth and eventually you will find a gem. You will kiss some frogs. Don’t worry about finding your prince charming. Instead, focus on becoming someone who doesn’t need rescuing. You’re young. There’s plenty of time for all that.

You’re not the only one who feels alone or broken. We all are. We were designed to need other people. Don’t try to take it all on by yourself. The right people are right around the corner and they are better friends than you could even dream of. 

There are a heck of a lot of people at this school. An obnoxious amount. Find the good ones and keep them close. Associate yourself with people who make you laugh, smile and feel comfortable. The people who bring out the best version of yourself.  The people who are there for you when you car is broken down in the middle of the road and you need a ride to your final. The people who don’t make you cry but that you’re not ashamed to ugly cry in front of.

Do whatever makes you happy. Whatever your heart desires. But keep your moral compass and don’t compromise your beliefs for anyone or anything. It’s not worth it. You will make some very stupid decisions.  Some very stupid decisions will be thrust upon you. You will hurt some people. You will hurt yourself.  Until it’s the actual end of the world, it’s not the end of the world. It may feel like it sometimes but that’s the beautiful part about this journey- you learn a lot in your classes but you learn even more from your mistakes.

Don’t panic about not knowing what to major in. Don’t worry about not knowing what you’re doing. I’ll let you in on a little secret, no one really knows what they’re doing. Everyone’s scared. You’ll figure it out.  Just keep working hard and it will fall into place.

Don’t believe the hype. These years will be incredible but they don’t have to be the ultimate, reigning supreme, best years of your life. Keep believing that the best is yet to come and there are brighter things on the horizon. Hold on to that hope.

You will get incredibly inspired. You will get incredibly frustrated. You will make some of your life’s greatest decisions and you will make some of your life’s biggest mistakes. You will gain important knowledge and you will undoubtedly do some flat-out dumb things. You will cry a river. You will laugh until it hurts.  You will grow up and grow into yourself. Whoever that may be, I hope it’s amazing.