Dear Freshman Innocence,
You are here, finally on campus, new dorms, free of rules and ready to discover a whole new world. The Friday night halls are filled with chatter, mixed lyrics of Taylor Swift and Gucci Mane all coming from different rooms. The sounds of unsteady heels and the clink of shot glasses saying cheers are only the start of the night of what could be “anything can happen.” You gather your girls that you’ve known for a few weeks, but could very well be your long-lost sisters. She is wearing your shirt, you are wearing her dress, and you’re just trying to get your next most liked picture on Instagram.
It all seems so easy and fun. You can stay out as late as you want, meet endless people, and order Dominos until 3 am and not worry your bank account balance until the morning. Dragging yourself in sweats to the dining hall in the morning doesn’t feel great at first, but the thrill to share the night’s previous gossip pushes you out of bed to meet your friends. As you sit down with your hydrating purple Powerade and the unnecessary bowl of Lucky Charms, the names of the cute boys are pouring out from your friend’s mouths, all sharing their magical hookups making you feel inferior, and guilty that you have never experienced sex.
You are at the point where you just want to get “it” over with, and find someone that makes you feel the way all your friends are chattering about at the cafeteria table. You shyly continue to eat your food joking about the spilled wine on your dress that is stained for good, but instead your friends are not afraid to fire back that you are still the “innocent” one, and just like that, you are eager to “lose it” once again.
Weeks and weeks of the same routine go by. Friday night fun, with more pink lipstick to hopefully find someone to kiss it with, until one night, there he is. You find that guy who is “good enough” and might make your young self feel special just like all your friends talked about. “I made you become a woman” is what he said to her when she chose to give him that part of herself that night. Which is where she now tells herself, no Freshman Innocence, you made yourself a woman. Through four years of hours of studying, broken hearts, friendships ending, hating her weight, and recovering from the worst, somehow she makes it. Becoming a woman means fighting in a society that tries to take away power from women. Becoming a woman means sharing your voice loud and empowering others to be confident and strong-willed. Becoming a woman means not letting anything or anyone define yourself and refusing to ever give up. Becoming a woman means realizing you only need yourself to make you happy. Becoming a woman means taking experiences that haunt or break your heart and turning it into something beautiful and good. Becoming a woman is not marked by the myth of virginity, it is being held accountable of what it means to be a “woman” and that Freshman Innocence, is being strong.