First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!!
Second of all, I just want to share a few things I've learned in the past eight-ish months I've been here. From a current freshman to an incoming freshman, this is for you:
One: you made it. You got the grades and SAT scores that UGA was looking for. You applied, you told your story, you got accepted. You did it. You did it despite people telling you left and right that "UGA isn't the place for you" or "you need to aim higher" or "you should lower your standards a little". Yes, you made it. You made it to one of the best public universities in the nation. THAT is an achievement, and you should be so proud of yourself. Welcome to Bulldog Nation.
Two: college is nothing like high school. The University of Georgia is nothing like high school. Let me paint a picture of what my high school (and I'm sure yours) looked like: the popular crowd, gossiping, secrets, dirty looks, trying to fit, the nerds, the outcasts, all shoved into a questionable building for seven hours a day, five days a week. Am I close? Yeah, not anymore. Here's the thing: no one cares here. No one cares if you wear pajamas to class. No one cares that Johnny and Sarah might have slept together. No one cares if you cry or sleep in public because literally everyone does it. No one cares to gossip because there are so many more important things than that. No one cares about fitting in, because you don't need to here. Everyone here wants the best for everyone else, and you're going to love it. That's what Bulldog Nation is about.
Three: everyone at UGA is the best of the best, and that's a pill you need to swallow sooner than later. I'm just like you. I was valedictorian, part of Student Government, involved in three community service clubs, three bands, and three academic clubs. Coming into a place like UGA REALLY gave me the "small fish big pond" syndrome. I went from being the best of the best to just average. I got rejected to a lot of things I applied to, and that's okay. It took me a while to swallow my pride and realize that just because everyone is doing great doesn't mean I can't be doing great too. I'm going to do great things on this campus and after, and you are as well. Don't compare yourself to others. You are a rockstar. You are Bulldog Nation.
Four: in a campus of over 36,000 students, you're going to find it hard to make friends. Don't get me wrong, it's so easy to make acquaintances in the dining halls or in the classrooms, but to find good, solid, deep relationships? That's going to be hard. It took me weeks. But here's how I did it: I got INVOLVED. Go to any club meeting that you're interested in. We have over 700 organizations. Go to at least one meeting, and decide if you want to stay. You don't have to make any commitments you don't want to make. Me? I got involved in Dawg Camp, SWAB, First Year Forum, Clarke County Mentors, and University Judiciary. Having and maintaining those relationships will help you understand what it is to be Bulldog Nation.
Five: you are going to thrive here. You're already awesome, you just need to find a place that brings it out of you. I'm so excited that you've decided to spend the next four, five, or even six years of your life here. Even if you eventually decide that UGA isn't the place for you, it's okay. We'll always be cheering you on, and welcome you back with open arms if needed because that's what Bulldog Nation stands for.
We are so excited for you to be here and to join us on this beautiful campus we call home. There is no tradition more worthy of envy, no institution worthy of such loyalty, as the University of Georgia. Soo...
GO. DAMN. DAWGS.