Dear 18-year-old me,

In just a few weeks, you’ll move into your college dorm for freshman year. Right now, you’re over the moon at the thought of being an independent young adult that won’t be under the roof/rules of Mom and Dad 24/7. You’re daydreaming about all the late nights and college parties that you’ll be attending as well as all of the new things you’ll get to try. No curfew, no rules, no worries – or so you think.

In reality, you’ll be a puddle of tears the first weekend and beg/plead/cry to come home. You’ll want nothing more than to sleep in your own bed, eat home-cooked food, and relish in the comfort of the environment you’ve come to know over the past 18 years. Those ‘hot college parties’ everyone talked about won’t be all they’re cracked up to be; for the most part, they’re just overcrowded, run-down college houses with too much alcohol and music that keeps you from being able to hear the person next to you.

Now, I don’t want you to think it’s all bad and no fun at all; like most things in life, you have to pick yourself up off the pavement and push through the tough stuff. The weeks will begin to slip by faster and faster, and before you know it, you’ll find yourself knee-deep into the first semester. The homesick phone calls to Mom will become fewer and farther between (but don't get me wrong, they'll still happen), and you'll begin to lose yourself in school work. You'll start making new friends with the girls on your floor and with the people in your major; after all, you're all in this together (no High School Musical pun intended). Despite being bogged down by 18 credit hours, you'll also still find time to count down the days, hours, and minutes until you'll get to escape home (thank goodness for Fall Break, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Break).

With the long-awaited Christmas Break come and gone, you'll find yourself in the midst of Continuous Recruitment for Greek Life and become the sorority girl you never thought you'd be. With that, you'll gain an entire group of sisters, companions, and life-long friends that will carry you through the next three years. All the thoughts of coasting through the rest of freshman year and returning home to some less-than-ideal local school will be squashed as you begin to bond with these girls and with the idea of finding yourself at home at this school.

Before you know it, the end of the year will be fast approaching and you'll find yourself picking out your sophomore year classes as well as figuring out your next living situation. After saying goodbye to your cramped freshman dorm and freshman year roommate (who you're still friends with to this day), you'll reflect on all the changes you experienced mentally, physically, and emotionally over the past eight months. You'll ponder and think, "How did these past eight months fly by so fast?"

Take your experiences and lessons learned for what they're worth; you'll be forever changed by them as well as the people you encountered on the journey through freshman year. You'll never get this time back - enjoy it while you can.

Sincerely,

Your 21-year-old, senior self