Dear Incoming Freshman,
Welcome to the next phase of your life! I'd just like to say that your hard work has not gone unnoticed. Even with all of the chaos of quarantine, you still managed to take hold of your education and nail it!
Now that you've completed high school, though, it doesn't end here. Graduating high school is the beginning of your life as a (semi)functioning adult! I know it might be scary to think about what you want to do for the rest of your life, but I have a few tips that will hopefully quench some of those pesky nerves about launching yourself into adulthood and getting on the path you were destined for.
At first, I wasn't quite sure what to write to you all because I have no idea what this next semester or two is going to look like. However, after a lot of thought, I figured I would give you a few tips that might help you take control of your college education while so many things are still out of control.
1. Find Your Community
At first, this one seems like a no-brainer. You might be thinking, "Well, duh, Sarah, college is all about making friends." A lot of times, superficial friendships are the ones that we have the most of. It's why you have 500 Facebook friends and you only see maybe 50 of those friends if you're lucky. While there is no harm in that, it isn't quite what I mean by community.
Friends aren't just there to give you something to do or make sure you're always having a good time. We were created to experience community, which means having people to carry you through both the good and the bad. When you go off to live at your university for the next four years, start looking for those friends that will challenge you just as much as they will make you laugh. Find those friends that see you for who you are,not what they can get out of you. It'll be hard at first, I'm not gonna lie, but don't ever settle for friendship just so you're liked! The most rewarding friendships are the ones that you really have to fight for on both sides.
Once you find that community, hang onto them. You'll need them for everything life throws at you.
2. Further Your Education
At the risk of sounding like a mom with this one, college is all about higher education. It isn't the fun thing to think about, but you need to remember that you're spending thousands of dollars to be at your university. It is so easy to get to college and let yourself do more fun things than school things. I'm not saying you shouldn't have fun because let's face it, college is fun! I know my last three years have been a blast! However, you can have all the fun you want without spending between 15 and 20 thousand dollars to do so. College isn't the peak of your existence. You'll have so many chances after you graduate to immerse yourself into the fun life can bring.
I think the best example I can give is from the comedian, John Mulaney (go check out his comedy specials on Netflix if you haven't seen him). In one of his bits, John mentions that he spent $120,000 to not read the books he was assigned and received a degree in a language he already spoke (English). His 4 years were full of alcohol and parties, and honestly, he probably doesn't remember much from that time in his life. Is it a funny bit? Absolutely. I've watched it millions of times because it's so funny. But the funniest things are the relatable situations that have us shaking our heads with regret by the end. Don't turn your college education into a comedy routine. You don't want to come out of your college experience regretting the thousands of dollars you spent for that piece of paper mounted on your wall.
3. Focus on the Moments
"Life is full of moments, good and bad." I heard this profound statement on the show, "Once Upon A Time," which is a weird place to get life advice; however, it is so true! Our society is all about the hustle and bustle of life. If you're not busy, you're considered a bum. I'm here to challenge that rule of society. While it is great to be busy and active, I want to remind you to pause and look at the moments. Life is a compilation of good and bad moments, but it is so important to stop and look at all the good that is happening in your life, or else the bad will begin to pile up.
It is so easy to get caught up with the business life has to offer that we end up overwhelmed and burnt out. Just like it is so important to work hard for your education, make sure you are taking breaks that are meaningful and good for your soul. If there's a lake near you, go sit and take in nature around you. Go for a walk. Go to the gym. Whatever you do to relax your mind, make sure you do it. Give your body and mind time to recharge. You'll get so much more out of your college experience if you teach your body when to work and when to rest.
I hope with these things in mind, you'll be able to enjoy your college experience to the fullest. You have an amazing life ahead of you. Welcome to college life! You're gonna love it.
Your Fellow College Student