Dear incoming college freshman,

I know how you're feeling right now. A mix of all things: excited for this new journey, sad to leave your friends or family at home and above all, nervous for the uncertainty that college promises to bring. As summer draws closer and closer to its end, the blurry goal that was once college is now directly in sight. You've started to buy bedspreads, towels and shower caddies. You're finding out your housing assignments, picking classes and contacting roommates about who will bring what. Right now, it all seems overwhelming. It will only become more and more overwhelming as you get closer to move-in. I've been there, only a year ago, and I can tell you that in just a few weeks, you'll be embarking on the most life-changing journey you can imagine.

Picture this: A month has passed, and move-in day is here. You stand in an empty dorm room, wondering, "What are my friends from home doing right now?" or maybe, "how am I going to do this?" You unload box after box of bedding, decorations and food, and before you know it, your family is kissing you goodbye and you are alone. The room you sit in is your new home, and the people down the hall are your new family. Get used to it quickly. Now for the best (and worst) part of those first few days: introductions. You'll meet so many new people and forget most of their names within the hour. You'll learn where everyone is from and ask about their majors – something you'll never remember unless you actually become friends. Best of all, you'll find that there are some people who remind you of your friends at home, or you'll meet other students you just click with. It may be your roommate, that girl across the hall or someone in your new favorite club. Soon enough, you'll be ordering pizza at 2 a.m. or studying for finals all night together. Until then, you'll still feel a little lonely, and you'll still text and call your best friend from home almost every day. You'll FaceTime your parents often, and you'll miss high school sports practices or your local pizza shop. But soon, all of that vanishes because this place has become your home. The new friends you've made will spend every day with you. You'll be swamped with schoolwork, you'll find clubs that you absolutely love and you'll find that college makes home seem mediocre.

As college looms on the horizon, I leave you with some advice I wish I'd been given. Spend as much time doing things with your friends and family as you can. Cherish those family vacations, eat your favorite meal as much as you can and lay on your best friend's bed just talking for hours. Before you know it, these will become high school memories, and you may just grow apart from those people who you once spent every day with. Soak in life before you face responsibility, endless studying and homework and that feeling of being utterly, comically broke. So many fun things lie ahead of you, but there are so many wonderful things at home you take for granted. Before you start this new chapter in your life, spend a few weeks highlighting and rereading your favorite parts of the last few. You'll be so glad you did.

Now buckle up, and get ready for a crazy ride. I'm sure all college upperclassmen can agree that they'd do anything to relive those first perfect months of freshmen year. Get excited, and don't be afraid to be nervous when you actually get there. Believe me, every other freshman will be, too. You're in good company.

Sincerely,

A college student