A Letter To My Freshman Self

A Letter To My Freshman Self

All the things I wish I knew when I started college.
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Dear Alanna,

Hey there, kiddo. This is you from the future. I know you’re so stubborn that you probably won’t listen to your 23-year-old self, but just hear me out, okay?

You’re about to start college! Yay! Congratulations! I know you’re really scared and excited which causes you many bouts of nausea, but don’t worry. Once you start walking those halls you’ll realize you have nothing to fear except midterms. (Also the smell of classrooms after a class full of boys leaves, but just sit near the door and avoid the engineering lab at all costs.)

Your life is about to change in a big way so here’s some advice from the person who knows you best (other than your therapist, but we’ll get to that later):

1. You’re taking too many credits.

I know you’re a perfectionist and feel like you can take over the world (which you totally can), but you’re just starting out so you need to let yourself relax and enjoy your freshman year as much as possible. Some kids can take 18.5 credits while working, being involved and having a social life, but this isn’t high school and you’re going to wear yourself out if you don’t slow down. Drop down to at least 15 credits and enjoy this time.

2. Live on campus this year.

You’ve never been keen on sharing spaces with people you don’t know, but college is not like summer camp so quit the superior I’m-an-adult-and-too-cool-for-the-dorms” attitude or you’re going to really regret it. You think freedom and happiness is living with your high school sweetheart in an apartment off-campus, but spoiler alert: you won’t be with him by Halloween of your sophomore year and since he’s not going to college, it’s going to be impossible to indulge in the whole “college experience” while everyone else in your classes are making friends and having fun in the dorms. I’m not even going to start about how you should’ve listened to literally everyone in the world when they told you not to bring your high school boyfriend to college because frankly, you’re being a total jerk at this age and you probably wouldn’t listen to me if I hopped in a time machine and smacked you in the face. (P.S. That technology doesn’t exist yet, so it’s still just an expression. Don’t get all excited about heading back to see Woodstock or whatever.)

3. Join every campus club/activity you possibly can.

I know you’re in THON but so is everybody else at school and your campus has so much more to offer. Even though you think you’re not a “joiner” type person right now, you absolutely are. Not only are these things going to look great on your resume, but you’re gonna make a load of friends and eventually settle into a group of people who share your interests. Once again, you’re not too cool to participate. You’re not even cool enough to have the confidence to wear dresses to class, so don’t even try to defend yourself.

4. Go around and meet every professor in the department of your major.

I realize you’re very shy at this time and you don’t think important teachers have the time or concern for a freshman, but you’re wrong. They do care (at least most of them do), and you’ll be really glad you started building relationships with these people so soon. They’ll be impressed by your go-getter attitude and you’ll eventually be in most of their courses which will make life easier because they’ll already know you when you come into their classrooms. There’s so much you don’t know about your major and meeting with them will give you many opportunities you wouldn’t have known otherwise. (Also, your undergrad advisor has no idea what the hell she’s doing and I honestly think she drinks at work.)

5. Publish your damn paper.

You have no idea what I mean, but you’re going to soon, and when the opportunity comes, don’t blow it off because the academic journal requires at least 15 pages and you “don’t feel like it.” That’s stupid. Stop being so stupid.

6. Start dating other people.

I know I said I wouldn’t get into this, but you really dropped the ball here. You think you’re so in love with your high school boyfriend and you are, but everyone is right about him and you’re making a huge mistake. I’m not saying you should run around school slutting it up, but you’ve never even gone on a date with anyone else and you should experience that. Honestly, you shouldn’t really be in such a serious relationship in your freshman year. You should be socializing with other guys but also focusing more on your academics than your boyfriend. I’m not going to tell you the details, but he gets you in trouble and he continues to be a burden on you even four whole years after you break up. Taylor Swift will come out with a song soon called “I Knew You Were Trouble” and you’ll listen to this over and over, kicking yourself because you knew he was in trouble. Seriously, stupid, stupid girl.

7. Finally, don’t let the stress overwhelm you.

Look, I know things seem crazy right now and as your first year of college presses on, you feel like you’re slipping at times and like everything is piling up. You feel overwhelmed and think you can’t handle everything you have to do (all of which, if you listen to the aforementioned advice, wouldn’t be such an enormous list), but you’re still learning your way around this new world and things aren’t as bad as they seem. You’re too proud to ask for help so you allow yourself to drown in all your responsibilities. It’s fine, you’re only human, but you need to know that no matter how much stress you’re under and no matter how bad things seem, you are strong and wonderful. Your hard work is not in vain and you are not hopeless. Your life is precious, you are worthwhile and you need to remind yourself this. You need to remember what all the hard work is for. Remember your purpose and the dreams you have and understand that everything is going to be okay. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you start feeling beleaguered by life, reach out to your friends and family and even your professors. They all will come to your aid and help pick up the slack. You’ll be happier too because in addition to your lighter load, you’ll remember the gigantic support system around you and you’ll be grateful for all the people in your life who love you and just want to see you succeed.

Well, that’s all I’ll tell you for now. I wish I could get this letter to you in time, but you’ll have to experience all your mistakes because like I said, time travel doesn’t exist yet.

That sucks, right? Like, they’ve managed to make cell phones and computers that use your fingerprints instead of passwords and cars that drive themselves, but somehow time travel isn’t possible? So many useless things happen in the next few years of your life, and you’ll love most of it but it’s all pretty useless.

So even though you won’t read this, hopefully other kids entering college will and be helped by the advice. You’ll continue to learn and impart your knowledge upon anyone who will listen, but one thing I’ll say is that college is going to be amazing and worth every minute. You have a pretty great life at 23 and despite the occasional lows (many of which can be blamed on your new car), life continues to get better. Enjoy every moment, kiddo. You’re in for one helluva ride.

Sincerely,

Future You

P.S. Pop culture gets really hilarious in the coming years. You think Kanye can’t possibly get any crazier, but oh my, you are in for quite a treat.

Cover Image Credit: You Visit Penn State Harrisburg Virtual Tour

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A Recent Sports Bra Suspension At Rowan University Has Gotten Female Athletes Outraged

A recent ban was placed on the Men and Women's Cross Country Athletes from using their designated practice facility.

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UPDATE: Following the publication of this article, Rowan University administration has released a statement ending the sports bra ban and a statement regarding the usage of athletic facilities by the Cross Country team.

If you're running in a sports bra, then you must be asking for it, right? Well, according to a football player at Rowan University, this is true.

I'll have you know the real reason women run in sports bras, and it's not to show off our hard-earned abs. Women, whether they have a six-pack or not, run in sports bras because, quite frankly, it's hot outside. We run in sports bras because our workouts are demanding, challenging, and vigorous.

We run in sports bras because we are confident, hardworking student-athletes.

We do not run in a sports bra as a way to show off our bodies in attempts to distract men.

Out of the 15 Rowan University Women Cross Country athletes, all of them believe running in sports bras at practice should be allowed. Even the girls who don't partake in shirtless runs at practice still believe the other members of the team should be permitted to wear whatever they feel confident in.

The Cross Country team at Rowan is one of the only teams that is not provided with a daily uniform to practice in. With that being said, how is it expected for the women on this team to partake in an non-existing dress code?

A meeting was held with the Women's Cross Country Coach and the Athletic Director to address this issue resulting in the verdict of the women on the team no longer being able to run in sports bras. If that wasn't already enough of an outrage, it was also decided the women were no longer allowed to run on the track.

Women running around the track in sports bras at their own practice were claimed to be distracting to the football players on the field during the same time.

As if the women no longer being able to run in sports bras wasn't enough, now they're no longer allowed to run on the track, period. The girls are now mandated to run on the local high school track on workout days.

In 2015, Rowan University officially finished their new $4.6 million athletic practice facility. The practice facility includes two fields for football, soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse athletes. There is a dedicated practice area for each team. The men and women Cross Country teams have their track. Now they no longer have that privilege.

The problem here is not the women on the team. The problem is not the women wearing sports bras. The problem is not women's bodies.

Rape culture is the problem.

The fact that the Athletic Department supports the claim of this being distracting, or the women "asking for it," is disgusting. Mind you, the Athletic Department put together a video involving student-athletes addressing rape culture and how it is not tolerated here. Oh, is that so?

"As girls, we could look at the football team and say that their tight pants showing off everything is asking for it, but we don't. When we are on the track, we are doing a hard workout that requires all our focus, so we aren't looking at them and what they are doing. If they are distracted by us, then their practices clearly don't require their full attention, or they just aren't as committed to the sport." -Anonymous source

In the world of professional athletics, all female Elite runners are permitted to wear racing crop tops. Not only are they non-restricting, but they are a trendy, comfortable, and empowering part of the running culture.

As women, we are constantly reminded that we should be ashamed or embarrassed about our bodies. It's 2018, and yet women are still being objectified with their physical appearance.

As a nation, we are taking a step back into history, and as a University, we are teaching student-athletes that this is acceptable.

The women on this team not only represent the University but the growing community of female runners. It's time women are allowed to embrace their bodies and not live in constant fear of being degraded by men.

Women, athletes or not, deserve to use their voice and take a stance. The future generations are watching. Let's set a good example.


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9 Things I Learned While Moving Into My First Apartment

Honey, you've got a big storm coming.

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If you're a college student like me, chances are you are going to be living in an apartment at some point to be near the school and experience living on your own. Even if you are taking a different route post-high school, you won't be a stranger to this new lifestyle. Whether you have plenty of roommates or are riding solo, the first few nights in your new home will be a mixed bag, but you'll get the hang of things eventually. I recently left the nest myself to land in my own place to live, and I have already learned so much more about adult life.

1. Things can get expensive pretty fast

money

Say it with me now: generic brand items are our friend. If it gets the job done, then you probably don't need to be spending the extra money to get something that is name brand. Remember, you have rent to pay now!

2. Stereo Guy will always have friends

noise

You may not hear them right away, but don't be too surprised if you're relaxing one night only to be met with blasted music (with much more lyrical clarity and less bass than last year's living situation).

3. Familiar items make a new place a home

furniture

If you're prone to getting homesick like I am, then fill your apartment with some of your favorite furniture or possessions so you have something that reminds you of home no matter how far away you are.

4. Then again, you'll be reminded of just how much stuff you have

overwhelmed

I hate to break it to you, but unpacking will probably take longer than you expect it to. My advice would be to focus on one box to completion so your mind isn't trying to find space for both clothes and knick-knacks at the same time.

5. It's OK to cry, and you should probably let it out anyway

cry

Bottling up your emotions is never healthy. You're going through a difficult transition and its inevitable to make mistakes, so don't be too hard on yourself and allow natural emotions to run their course before picking yourself up again.

6. You'll be surprised what chores come up way sooner than you thought they would

chores

First, you're going to develop a schedule for when you want to clean and how often. Now once you're moved in, throw that all out the window. Dirt tracked inside, dusty dishes, things to wipe off, etc.; these are just a few things you may find yourself doing within the early days of apartment-living.

7. You'll get quite the workout on move-in day

moving

I'm talking cardio, weight lifting, and a lot of repetition. Try to find out if your apartment complex has an elevator to go with the stairs, or else you're in for a long day.

8. Leave early to work so you have time to find a new route

driving

You don't want to start your work day feeling frustrated and worked up, so try to give yourself as much time as possible to navigate towards your place of business. As you continue to do this, try taking different but similar routes in order to familiarize yourself with the area if you're not a local.

9. At the end of the day, you'll be extremely proud of yourself and how far you've come

tough

I can do something as basic as making myself a hot dinner, and I'll be dancing around the kitchen saying "Look at that, kiddos! Look what I did!" You're going to have some tough times ahead of you, so celebrate the small things when you can. Eventually, you'll be saying something like "Wow, look who's doing taxes!"

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