To freshman me,
Our graduation is quickly approaching and just like that, four short years are gone. I am writing you this letter because, with everything I’ve been through and everything I know now, there are a lot of things I wish I’d known then. College was an experience with a lot of highs and lows. The most important piece of advice I can give you is to enjoy every moment because when it’s over and you have to face the real world, you’ll want to go running back, trust me. Second, most important, don’t cut your hair too short the summer before senior year (it won’t grow back as much as you want it to).
When we first moved into De Neve in freshman year, it was a brand new experience. It was our first time being away from home. No one to make sure you were awake in the morning or vacuum the floors for you (and oh boy did those floors need vacuuming). I wish I could say that our apartment floors are clean but they’re in need of a vacuum and a mop too. For the first time, we were in a completely different place where we didn’t know anyone. Your friends from high school weren’t there, so it was time to make some new friends. You put yourself out there and found friends that feel like family.
After freshman year, some of your friends went in separate directions. Some graduated or it was harder to keep in touch with different organizations and class schedules. Now you’re back at square one. With the pandemic and so many of your friends graduating in 2020, I wish I could tell you not to worry because the friends you are meant to have will come into your life naturally. I am so happy you decided to get involved with different groups on campus. It led you to friends to take trips with and friends to keep beyond college. Now you are all graduating in a few short weeks or some of them may have already graduated! I’m here to tell you that these friends that you have made will be there for life. And even though you might wish for more friends or more time, they’ll support you as you embark on life after undergrad.
I also want to remind you that the big reason for college, your education, wasn’t as scary as you thought. It was tough at times and you didn’t do so well on a few tests, but you ran to Powell at midnight on Wednesday of finals week and you passed all your classes (provided that we don’t fail this last GE). We didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do when we first came to college; we just knew what was expected. I suppose I still don’t know exactly what I want to do after graduation but I wish I could tell you not to stress yourself out. You took a few too many classes (multiple 21 unit/6 class quarters is not the move), but you survived. You took the time to take classes you were interested in even if they had nothing to do with your major, but that’s what college is all about — figuring out who you are and what you want to be.
Most importantly, after these four long years, you’re graduating with a degree that means something to you. It represents everything that you overcame these last four years, every roommate conflict, friendship struggle and academic catastrophe. You’ve been through a lot in these four years and while you might not treasure the bad moments, they’ve helped shape who you are. You’re more resilient than either of us give ourselves credit for and we will carry these four years with us into the next journey.
There is one final thing I want you to know: thank you. It has been a long, sometimes tough, journey these past four years. Senioritis hit a little too early with the pandemic, and Zoom classes were never easy, but we survived and will (hopefully, pandemic allowing) walk at graduation. I apologize in advance for the orange tassel—don’t love the engineering color either. So I’ll see you on the other side.
Until our next journey,
A Bruin (Class of 2022)