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A Letter to the College Freshmen Who Feel Lost

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UW Lax chapter.

Congratulations, you made it through the first week!

I’m sure finding your classes and making your way through campus, all while trying to look as little as you can like a freshman took some real effort. Been there, done that; and so has every student you walked past this week. I know that it might seem like the end of the world right now and you can’t help but miss the comfort of being in high school and feeling welcome and feeling like you’re apart of something. Now that it’s Friday, you might be thinking about the Friday night football game you are about to miss at your high school and think about about your friends from back home who you are missing more and more every day. 

Yeah, it might really suck right now. For most of you, this the first time you’ve ever been away from home and is probably one of the biggest changes so far in your life. I’m not going to lie, change is always rough in the beginning and no one likes to feel uncomfortable and alone, which is what you might be feeling right now. As humans, we all like to feel like we belong and are loved and that we are apart of something, which is something you might not be feeling right now. But I promise you, it will only get better. I also promise that you are not alone in what you’re feeling. Don’t give up and keep your chin up! Here is a bit of advice that I wish I would’ve been told as a freshman that will hopefully help you. 

Be easy on yourself. Before coming to college, you probably had an image in your head of how it was suppose to be–I know I did. This is the worst possible thing you can do to yourself, because things are almost always not what you think it will be. Before coming to college, I thought I would have everything figured out right away. I thought from the second I stepped on campus that I would find my best friends right away. When this didn’t happen, I was really hard on myself and I was asking, what is wrong with me? But good things take time. You aren’t going to figure it out right away and that’s okay. 

Talk to as many people as possible. The great thing about being a freshman is that everyone around you is in the SAME EXACT BOAT. You are all trying to make friends and trying to find your place here. With that being said, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to the person next to you in class or the person living next to you in your dorm hall. The great thing about college is that there are so many people around you. If you’re trying to befriend someone and you realize that maybe the just aren’t your person, then talk to another person. Leave your door open in your dorm. You will seem way more inviting and friendly just by whether or not your door is open. Talking to new people might be hard for some. It’s easy to feel intimidated when talking to new people, especially if you’ve grown up going to school around the same group of people since you were in kindergarten, which I’m sure might be the case for some. Just put yourself out there and try to ignore the fear! Even if you might think you are boring or awkward or weird, I promise you are not as awkward/weird/boring as you think you are. If you’ve found yourself latching on to high school friends who go to your college, that’s okay for now, but don’t let it stop your from meeting new people. Don’t be afraid to branch out! 

Don’t believe everything you see on social media. There is so much pressure to show that you are loving and having a great time in college. It’s all about what kind of picture you can post in the first few weeks that will show your high school peers, that you are living it up in college and that you have a lot of new friends, etc. I promise you that those photos you are seeing on social media are not as true as you think they are. Someone might post a photo that looks like they are loving college, but odds are that they are feeling as lonely and out of place as you are. If you have to, delete your social media for a while. Social media is really good at making you feel self conscious about your own life and it’s so easy to compare your life to others based on photos you see online. So if you find yourself feeling sad for yourself every time you exit out of instagram/facebook/snapchat, then delete the app for a while! There’s no need for you to feel that way about yourself.

Don’t feel like you have to go out on the weekends. There really is nothing like the pressure to feel like you have to go out and party on the weekends. In college, drinking is considered the cool thing to do. While it may look glamorous based on photos you’ve seen instagram, no one sees that photos of people dealing with hangovers. Something I’ve learned is that usually the people you meet partying freshman year, aren’t going to be  genuine friends. Make sure you are making friends that you have other things in common with besides the fact that you go out every weekend. Partying may seem like the “cool” thing to do, but you know what’s also cool? Your mental and physical health. If you feel like staying in and reading a book or going to the gym because you know that’s what will make you happy, then don’t be afraid to do that! Your happiness is what matters the most. Be sure to take advantage of the events going on in your dorm hall. One of my favorite trips from freshman year was the trip to the apple orchard with my hall. I remember meeting a lot of people that way and it’s a good memory that I even look back on now as a junior.

Join a club/intramural sport. As humans, we love the feel like we belong and that we are apart of something. This is something you might feel like you are lacking right when you come to college. Join an organization on campus or start an intramural sport! Not only are they great way to make friends, but it’s also a good feeling to feel like you belong somewhere. When I was a freshman, I joined Her Campus and it made me feel like I belonged somewhere and that I was welcome.

It’s okay if you don’t love college. If you talk to any upperclassman, most of them would say that freshman year in the beginning was rough. I remember feeling really panicked that I wasn’t making many friends. I promise you though that most people don’t meet their good friends until later in the semester, so give it time. In fact, usually the majority of the people you talk with the first few weekends you won’t be talking with by the end of the semester. I will say it again, but change is hard. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you are doing the best you can. 

Just take a deep breathe and don’t give up yet! Things might seem rough right now, but I promise that everything will eventually fall into place! Try to enjoy yourself as much as you can, because college goes by fast! Make memories and don’t be afraid to do something out of your comfort zone. Make it a good year! 




Sarah Mueller is a senior majoring in Organizational and Professional Communication and minoring in Professional Writing. She loves to write, run, and do yoga in her free time. Follow her on instagram: sarah_muelller