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An Open Letter to Freshman Year

Dear Freshman Year,

It still doesn’t feel quite real that you’re practically over. As I’m sitting in my partially-packed dorm room, reminiscing about the past nine months, I can’t help thinking about how much has changed. As a girl who loves to daydream about the future, especially the coveted college experience, online school initially felt like some cruel, cosmic joke. In a twist of fate that no one could have imagined, my larger-than-life expectations for 2020 disappeared without a trace. So, I decided to live on campus, hoping to gain a new experience that resembled what I had in mind. 

I’ve always labeled myself as a self-starter: willing to move a thousand miles away to gain a sense of independence. Of course, the reality of leaving wasn’t as glamorous. I moved to a state where none of my family or friends resided, all while having to deal with navigating college courses for the first time. A global pandemic was still in full force without any news of a vaccine, and a life-changing presidential election was well underway. I was on my own, not sure what to expect, wondering if I made the right decision. 

I’ve never been one to believe in fate, but I always marvel at the circumstantial trajectory of my life. What would’ve happened if I didn’t reach out to people before school started? What would’ve happened if HFS chose to place me in a different dorm building? What would’ve happened if I chose not to participate in EFS, or a FIG, or RSOs? These decisions, seeming so trivial at the time, changed my college experience for the better. They allowed me to meet some of my closest friends; they allowed me to explore my interests beyond what I knew them to be. I’ve never been surrounded by such a supportive group of people, and for that, I am truly grateful. 

With the current state of the world being as unpredictable as it was, I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better freshman year. It was initially nerve-wracking to attend such a large institution, mostly because I had to rely on self-sufficiency more than ever before. But all of my experiences, for better or for worse, resulted in personal growth. I’ve learned more about myself this year than in four years of high school, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of college has to offer. 

Goodbye freshman year, and thank you for being a good one!



Annie Melnick

Washington '24

Annie is an English major at the University of Washington, where she is a contributing editor and writer for Her Campus. She is originally from Los Angeles and enjoys creative writing, reading novels, listening to music, traveling, and drinking coffee.
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