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Open Letter to My Freshman Self

Dear Freshman Me,

You did it! You got into the college of your dreams! Tomorrow you are finally going to move into your cool dorm room, shove your mom and the rest of your family out the door, and become BFFs with all the girls on your floor, right? Wrong. You are going to move into your tiny dorm room (about the size of a cracker box), cry and latch onto your mom, and not talk to any of the girls on your floor because you are the “new girl” and they already bonded during the summer session. Sounds like you’re actually going to hate this place, right? Wrong again. It turns out you are going to be wrong a lot more often than you expected, but that’s okay. Something you learn throughout these next four years is that it’s true: one of the best ways to learn is from your own mistakes. I promise you are going to fall in love with UCSB, and it is going to take no time at all!

So like I said, maybe your first day (or first week) isn’t the greatest, but it does begin to get better. The girls on your floor warm up to you, and remember how you thought your roommate hated you? Wrong once again! You two are actually a great match and end up living together all four years! You also end up finding a group of girls in the dorm building right next to yours and they stick by your side the next four years, as well. Those girls will be there for you through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Like when you and your roommate go out together for the first time and drunkenly decide that you two are officially going to be roommates for life! Or when chemistry ruins your life and you cry because you feel like a failure when you decide to change your major. (Say bye-bye to Bio and hello to English, it’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make!) And there’s also that time when they have to hold your hair and leave the party early to make sure you make it home safely when you partied a little too hard. Although there comes a time when you all get really busy with school and work and it feels like you are beginning to grow apart, don’t worry, you can still always turn to them for anything.

Your first year is going to be the year of trial and error (lots of error), but like I said earlier, it’s good to learn from your mistakes. Sometimes you make the same mistakes quite a few times before you really get it, but that’s okay, nobody’s perfect. Not all the people you meet here are going to be the nicest and most honest people you know, but don’t let that trick you into thinking everyone is that way! I’m sorry to tell you that you are going to get your heart broken and people will turn out to be different than you expected. There are still going to be nights when you wish you would have decided to go to a college near home because you feel like nobody here understands you. But remember those girls I mentioned earlier? Trust me when I tell you that they will help you through those nights. Also, your mom is always just a phone call away and you are going to call her a lot more than you expected to.

So let’s talk about one of the main reasons you are here – to go to class and learn. I know, such a drag, right? Nope. Wrong. Of course you are going to struggle to get up for your 8 am and procrastinate way longer than you should. There will be times when you decide the weather is just too beautiful to spend the day sitting inside the lecture hall while the beach is only a few steps away. But please, go to class! Don’t be afraid to take classes that seem difficult or just downright dumb because some of those classes will be the ones you remember the most. Like that religious studies class, Religious Approaches to Death. Sure, it doesn’t have anything to do with your major and it seems really weird, but that still ends up being one of your favorite classes to this very day! Don’t worry about getting straight As, but also don’t slack off too much. Enjoy going to class while you can because one day you are going to be 22 and have to worry about graduating and “adulting.” But that is forever from now, right? You guessed it, wrong again.


Freshman year is going to fly by, sophomore year will seem to drag on forever, junior year is going to be one for the books (you achieve your dream and spend half the year abroad in Australia, woo!), and then senior year will be here.

Now here I am, 22 and wishing I could go back to being little ol’ freshman you. By this time, you think you are going to have it all figured out and know what you are going to do with your life. You have never been so wrong in your life, but once again, that’s okay. It’s like having the same feeling you had when you packed up your belongings and headed into the unknown world, known as “college.” Remember how scared, nervous, and excited you were? Well I guess being a senior is kind of like that, except you’re 100 times more scared. Just like college ended up being absolutely amazing despite the difficulty at the beginning, I’m sure your future is going to be the same! So enjoy college while you can and don’t ever forget that it’s okay to be wrong. Learning from those wrongs just might end up pointing you in the right direction!

Love Always,

Your older, wiser (yet still making mistakes) self


Amber is a 4th year English major from Long Beach, CA. Some of her favorite pastimes include watching sunsets, eating burritos, and enjoying a good book outside on sunny days. She was bitten by the travel bug while spending a semester abroad in Australia and wants to explore the world! She hopes to land a career that allows her to do two of the things she loves the most- travel and write. Catch up with her on Instagram at @amber_bamm.
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