To My Younger Sister: The College Advice I Wish I Had Been Given

Dear Sister,

Since you’re going to college this fall, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned over my freshman year. You and I both know you’re a better student than I am so I won’t give you any study tips, just tips about life in general. You will have days that suck and you’ll feel lonely, but when this happens, call me, or call Mom and Dad.

The first week of school, everyone is as desperate for friends as you are— I promise. Try to meet lots of people instead of attaching yourself to your roommate’s hip. You should definitely try to live on campus your freshman year; it makes a big difference. Living on campus makes it easier to know about events and opportunities on campus (plus there’s usually food involved). I’ve made so many friends and been able to do so much more because I lived on campus. If you choose to live off campus though, you’ll need to work a bit harder but strive to contribute to the campus community.

No matter where you live, you will probably have at least one roommate. You need to be on good terms with your roommate(s). Remember that your actions (or inaction) affect them too. It definitely takes some adjustment, so be considerate of them. Understand that everyone is trying their best in life, even your roommate(s). There will be a point that your roommate(s) do something that really bothers you, so make sure and have a roommate contract in writing. A good rule of thumb is to take a day before confronting your roommates if they do something you aren’t okay with; this helps you from blowing up over small things. I generally wouldn’t correct my roommate unless something happens twice (I’ve been blessed with an awesome roommate that I’ve never had any issues go this far). Otherwise, it may have just been an oversight.

Intention and action are two different things; you need to act if you want to reap the benefits of college. Seek to learn things both inside and outside of the classroom. Go to class, but don’t only go to class; learn to strike a balance between class and experiences. For instance, if going skydiving with your friends means missing a lecture, then skip the lecture!! There are all kinds of opportunities available to you in college that you can’t get anywhere else. Although it might seem that everyone around you has a perfect plan in place and that they know what their one true passion is, the truth is everyone feels confused about their future at some point. You won’t figure it all out your first semester, or probably ever (but if you do please tell me how). Use your time in college to explore.

When you feel sad, confused, or any other negative emotion, ask yourself how much water, food, and sleep you’ve had in the last day. I’ve found that many negative emotions can be avoided or at least negated by getting enough of these simple things. If you find yourself lacking in these repeatedly, it's probably a symptom of larger problem. At this point reach out to others is non-negotiable; there are people in your life that are there for you, use them! One of these people is myself, I’m never too busy for you.

You’ve got this! I’ve seen how much work you’ve put into getting here, so take a deep breath and enjoy your time in college. Love you! Please don’t forget about me when you’re living your super cool life in college!

 

Sincerely,

Your Sister, Bryn 

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