To Whom this May Concern,

Go ahead and put down your phone. You're going to need it for the year that lies ahead of you. There are people that you have yet to meet and places that you have yet to go. There are things to happen that you have never even dreamed about. Welcome to the first nine months of your life in the real world.

Go ahead and unpack your stuff. The color scheme you and your roommate have carefully crafted is perfect. Take a deep breath and enjoy this moment right now. It is fleeting because, in a short amount of time, you'll find yourself packing right back up and moving out again. Do you know how many people are going to come into this room? Every flinging open of the door will bring in hopes, fears, tears, excitements, announcements, and everything in between. It may seem weird now, but that bed lofted high in the sky will become your bed, and that couch will become your couch. A slow shift will take place, and this room will become your home.

Go ahead and get ready to travel beyond that room too. You will journey beyond the county lines of Athens-Clarke County on buses to New Orleans and on drives to St. Simons Island. Road trips to Destin and Fort Lauderdale. Weekends become a time to see how far you can go and back before your next class. Every time you sit in the car is another adventure to be had. I won't spoil the details, but some wild things lie in store.

Go ahead and recruit people to join you. Some of the people that you meet this year will be some of the best friends that you have ever made. Some of them won't, but they'll add color to your life anyway. Some of the people you think you know now will fade away, but everything happens for a reason. The ones that you need will remain. Say hello to people that you know that you pass on the street. Go grab some lunch with the ones around you. Make memories with as many people as you can, because the smallest memories are the ones that you will cherish the most.

Go ahead and enjoy this year. It only happens once, and although you have three years after this one, there is something especially magical about being a freshman. There are new traditions to partake in, so many bells to ring, so many tears to cry, so many people to smile with. Do not be to search for yourself, because you will.

Go ahead and live. Don't regret choosing not to.

Sincerely,

Haley Gamis