Dear Incoming Freshman,
Now, you may have seen 20,000 other articles like this, but I'm about to get real with you. You're about to start the next chapter of your life, and that's pretty exciting. You're going to be super excited to start your life on your own, become independent and get a start on your career path. I just want to give you some insight as someone who just went through their freshman year.
Number 1, whether you want to admit it or not, you're going to get homesick. Sometimes living the college routine and being super independent is super scary, and you're going to miss have the regular routine you had at home from when you were in high school. Don't be embarrassed if you need to cry, and call someone from home to feel better. I've done it before, and so have my friends. It's okay to miss home. Something to remember, home will always be there, and it's not going anywhere.
Number 2, the friends you make the first week of school, most likely won't be the friends you are friends with by the end of the semester. I'm not saying you're all going to hate each other, because I wouldn't want that, and I'm sure you wouldn't want that either. In all honesty, you'll meet some really awesome people, but once classes start up and you meet people in your major, odds are you'll end up spending a lot more time with those people. This doesn't mean you can't be friends with them, but you will fall out of touch with some people, and that is okay, it just happens. Something I highly condone, join school activity groups, whether that's a frat, sorority, peer education group or any other clubs/organizations, so you don't feel closed in with the same people all the time. It's important to put yourself out there and meet new people! It's really scary making completely new friends, I know for me it was. I had to start over completely, but in the long run, I have made some of the most amazing friends.
Number 3, you're going to want to party at a lot at first. Now I obviously don't know what everyone likes, but parties are extremely fun and you're going to be sucked in most likely. This doesn't make you a bad kid, or not smart, or weak for trying something new. It's okay to have fun, and sometimes that fun will make you prone to making mistakes. Now, I'm not encouraging you to make mistakes, but they are inevitable sometimes, whether they're small, or big ones. I do encourage you to do your best with finding a buddy, and for you two to look out for each other. That's essential. Now that you're in this new big world, you're going to be exposed to many things you probably didn't have much access to before. You need to be safe, and really thoroughly think about what you may do before you do it. Let me be clear, you can have fun, and experiment. I'm just encouraging you to be safe and smart about it. If you don't like parties, this doesn't make you a wimp, there are so many ways to have fun without parties. It's your body and you need to what makes you comfortable. Don't let anyone change your opinion.
Number 4, college will expose you to a lot of difficult challenges. This could range from your own personal issues, or something you see happening with someone else. My best advice if you're having problems at school, don't let it just pass. Find someone to talk to as soon as you can. I don't know if all campuses have counseling, but if yours does, don't be afraid to talk to someone there. College is tough, and you're going to need someone to listen to you and give you piece of mind through the difficult times you endure. My advice for when you see someone that needs help, or is in trouble, don't be a bystander. If you see something, say something. You could really end up helping someone who may be in trouble and to be perfectly honest that could help the next person. It's important to make yourself your number one priority though. Don't find yourself becoming everyone's therapist, it's not an easy task and it won't necessarily fix what's going on. Being a good listener is wonderful, but please make sure you're okay and doing what you need for yourself.
Number 5, its okay to not have your entire life figured out. I went into college believing that I need a timeline and I needed to make sure my future is secure. I'm also a Theater major, so security isn't exactly the word I should've used to begin with. Needless to say, don't do that. It's okay to change your mind about what career you want to pursue. Now, I'm not changing my major, but I decided to take minor in Women and Gender Studies. Every day of your life in college, you'll make discoveries and it's going to really make you think about how you may want to incorporate that in your life, and if it results in a change in major, that is totally okay. It's alright if you don't understand everything that you're taught in your major. That is why you're in college, to learn the things you don't know. College really is about discovering yourself and finding out what you're going to do and create someday.
College is scary, but it is some of the best times of your entire life. You're going to transform into a new person for better or for worse. This experience is what you make of it, and what you choose to do with it. Some days you're going to absolutely hate it, and you may even want to just drop out altogether, but then again, you're going to have days that make you so happy you came here. You'll develop a range of feelings, but you can do this. You're going to conquer your first year, and before you know it, you'll become a sophomore. It really does go by so fast, so don't take a second for granted.