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What I Would Tell My First Quarter Self

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As the end of Winter Quarter draws near and the anxieties of finals season begin to grow, I can’t help but remember what this time was like for me last quarter—and I couldn't feel more different. 

This time during Fall Quarter, I was ready for it to be over. Not just in an “I’m stressed about finals,” way, but in an “I am exhausted” way. For me, Fall Quarter was a sprint to the finish line from the beginning—just a momentary gap in the life I had always known. The entire time, I lived waiting for winter break. I just wanted to go home and be with my old friends in a place that I knew and loved. 

When I arrived at UCSB as a first-year (who had barely even had a senior year of high school thanks to COVID), I was ready for the college experience everyone raves about. To my surprise, I was greeted with a housing crisis, access card crisis, class crisis, and a school whose foundation was still recovering from pandemic normalities. The school seemed like it wasn’t as ready to welcome me as I was to welcome it — and with obstacle after obstacle, I immediately thought, “This place will never feel like home.” Ripped away from people I loved and thrust into an unfamiliar place that seemed to reject my attempts to connect with it, I felt discouraged and alone. It certainly didn't help that my high school friends were posting their new friend groups, sororities, and parties — all having the time of their lives. I started to believe that I would never connect with my school as they did. 

Now, just a few months later, even with finals looming, I wish this quarter had gone by just a little slower. That same girl who never thought she’d be comfortable here now bikes through campus and instinctively smiles, waves at her friends in the dining hall, and laughs hysterically with her roommates at odd hours of the night. She couldn’t feel more at home.

I wish I could tell my first quarter self how much fun she’s going to have, how many incredible people she will meet, and how at home she will start to feel. I would tell her that, here she is at the end of Winter Quarter, actually excited for the next quarter, wishing it hadn't gone by so quickly. I would tell her that, yes, she actually is interested in her major (and it’s not just something random)! That she makes really, really good friends. And that some friends she grows apart from, but it ends up being OK.

As for the friends at home broadcasting how great their lives are, I’d tell her to not get caught up in it, because under the surface, everyone is adjusting. Most importantly, I would tell her that, although it may not have seemed that way at first, she’s in the right place, and will find her own place within it. 

Lastly, I’d tell her that I won’t forget the girl who I came here as, because she’s the one who got me here — and I would make sure she knows that this is only the beginning.

Eva is a second-year Communication major at UC Santa Barbara, where she writes about anything and everything she feels is exciting, fascinating, or entertaining. When she isn't writing for Her Campus, she is usually overthinking, working on one of her projects, or listening to Taylor Swift.
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