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An Open Letter to Freshman Year Me

Dear Freshman Year Me,

Wow, this is overwhelming isn’t it?

In just a few short days you have moved from the only home you have known into an itty-bitty dorm room. You have left your little group of friends who have become your family over the last four years and moved to a new city where you know two people out of around 220,289 people. You’re intimidated, self-conscious and most importantly, you are excited. Please hold onto that excitement and let the rest go. It is going to take you great places. Whenever you doubt your choices, let yourself feel that excitement. Feel the rush of joy that living in the city gives you. Feel that nervous happiness you get when you meet new people and make new friends. Feel that validation when you take classes that pertain to your major and you actually enjoy them. Because all of this is going to fly by.

You are going to meet so many people of so many different cultures and backgrounds and beliefs. It is going to expand your mind so much more than your previous small-town life ever could. Go out! Join that organization! Don’t be afraid to talk to people because you will meet some fantastic people who will become close friends. And you will meet a lot of assholes who you will eventually and thankfully remove from your life.

You are going to choose the major of your dreams. You are going to learn so much! Your classes will inspire you and kick your a*s all at the same time. You will have weeks where you are completely overwhelmed with assignments and deadlines. When that happens, make a list and call mom. Both of those things will get you through it.

Speaking of mom, one of the most important things you will learn is how wonderful your parents are. They love you beyond what you can understand and they will literally travel through the night to pick you up when you have fallen down. Call them! Appreciate them! Go home every once and a while to see them (and to eat a home cooked meal – the dining hall food gets old really quickly).

I know you want to find love. And for a while, you will seek it out in the wrong places, and that’s okay. You will grow from that. And you will find love. It’ll be the kind of love that makes you smile all the time. The kind of love that feels like it will last forever. The kind you have been hoping for. Those will be some of the best months of your life. And then, you will lose that love. And it is going to hurt like hell. But you will pull through. Your friends will make you smile again and go out again and love life again. You are going to be just fine. Your sister is going to be just a call away with comforting and wise advice. Some days will be better than others, but you are going to realize that life has only just begun and you have an entire world in front of you just waiting to be conquered. Remember that you are worthy of love.

You are going to finally start figuring out what you want to do with your career. Don’t be fooled – you’re not going to have it all together and you will still have to work hard for what you want, but you will finally have an idea of where you see yourself. You will be a senior just months away from graduating, excited for what comes next. Keep chasing those dreams!

These years will fly by. You will change and grow a lot. You will learn how to properly do your eyebrows. You will have good times and bad times. It’s going to be a messy, fantastic blur. And every moment of it – the good and the difficult – is going to make you who you are. Learn to love yourself. Learn to stand up for yourself and others. Learn to work your ass off for what you want. Learn to better yourself. Let’s never stop learning and loving.


Your Future Self


Photo credits: Cover, 1, 2

Katie, a Senior at VCU, is majoring in International Studies focused in European studies and is minoring in both Spanish and Writing. She credits all success and sanity to dry shampoo, The Arctic Monkeys, and chocolate. Her favorite things include argumentative essays, pitbull puppies (or really any puppy), and spring. Katie hopes to one day get paid to travel the world and write.
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