O-Week is finally upon us, and for some of us, it will be the last time we set foot on campus for the first day of the school year. I'm sitting here writing this after a twelve-hour day of Orientation Staff training, fighting back tears as I think of my last first day of school. Whether that's the emotion or the exhaustion of this week, we'll never know, but it is such a bittersweet feeling to know that I'm officially a senior in college.
So if you're an incoming freshman, take some time to take it all in. From the second you and your family leave home with the Suburban packed up with clothes and mattress toppers and closet organizers and Easy Mac (it's a college essential, I swear to you) soak up every second. Don't be afraid to move a little slower through the day. Hug your parents a few extra times. Someday, you'll be a senior looking back on your move-in day and trying to remember every little detail of those first few days. Take mental snapshots, take it all in, enjoy it.
Be present every day. Take time to make sure your body, mind, and emotions are all okay, but then go out and be present on campus. Be present with your friends and roommates (even if you're not the best of friends.) Go to a multiple club meetings until you find one that you love, and then try out some more. Go out for boba with friends and go to bed an hour later than you wanted to every once in a while. Don't hole up in your dorm. That't what summers at home are for.
Find what makes you the best version of yourself. Whether it's a leadership position or job or sport or performance, never stop trying to find something that you love and want to do every day. Even in the summer before your senior year, take a chance on a new job or internship or volunteer position that you're terrified of. It may just be the best decision you've ever made.
Don't forget your friends and family back home. They've been through a lot with you, they've seen you at your highest and lowest points, and they really do care about you. Don't let the little things that may have went wrong in high school rattle inside your brain for too long. Don't burn those bridges. Distance, even just thirty minutes, makes it really hard to keep up with friendships. Don't let those friendships fizzle out because in just a few years, you'll miss them more than you ever thought possible.
Have fun. Obviously, your mental health and academics come first, and if you have to work through school, then that's just the way it is. But don't forget that while these four years may not be the best years of your life, they will certainly be the most interesting and diverse. Do things that bring you joy. Try to cut as much negativity out as you can. Smile, laugh, sing, dance, offer hugs to people. Be a good person. Send good vibes out into the world. Have fun and take it all in because one day, it will be time to start writing a new chapter.