Dear Freshman Jake,

I cannot believe it sometimes, but I'm approaching senior year now. In the three years since I began my time in university, I have had a myriad of experiences, things I think are worthy of reflecting on to you. There are so many different lessons I have come across during my time, and I think they are valuable to write about.

They may not take effect immediately, but they are important to cherish.

For one, continue trying to believe in yourself. It is a long, arduous process. It is full of twists and turns and is very much a process that is one step forward and two steps back. At the end of the day, however, you'll find the confidence to do things you never thought possible. Like run for president of a club, found another one, start lab research and so many other things. You'll find it worth it in the end.

Secondly, continue exploring who you are. You may not know it, but there are so many untapped fields of interests you were never aware either existed or that you'd find interesting. You'll soon discover that college, whether via the extracurricular activities or the courses, will present new interests to you, whether that be politics, philosophy, different sports or even medical ethics. You'll find that there is so much to be fascinated by, and I want you to always continue to explore that.

Another lesson I have managed to take from my time in college is that, while challenging, those obstacles will help you develop as a person and a student. Whether that be in a class like organic chemistry, where you'll resort to every resource in your repertoire, or biochemistry and cellular biology, which you'll study day after day to understand. You'll find that while these classes can certainly be challenging, they can be overcome with your studying. You'll come to not only learn how to be a better student, but you'll discover more about how you function as a person and how much you truly love your major. Carry that with you.

Lastly, following from that, do not give in. Do not cede to those classes. It gets tough. You may want to cry and you may want to just give up. Those classes will hit you like a ton of bricks. They'll frustrate you and vex you, saddling you with the responsibility of figuring it all out when it seems like you will never understand it. Here's the thing, you will understand it. With time and dedication, you'll figure it out, you just need to have the patience to believe it'll happen.

I know that this might seem a bit premature to write you this now. However, there has been so much I have learned since you first stepped into Middletown High School all those years ago. It may feel like it drags on at times, but college is going to breeze right past you. Grab a hold of something and follow the flow, but keep your head focused on the goal, the one thing you've always wanted.

There, you'll find the balance needed to learn how to be yourself and focus on the prize. Keep going, kid.