Dear Future Freshmen,

You just started college and it’s super exciting, right? New people, a new place, and you’re ALL ON YOUR OWN. Which means more freedom. No bedtime other than what you dictate and sure, you can totally have all those cookies after dinner. Who’s to stop you?

But really, in all honesty, I have had moments where I did not like it here. Granted, it’s only the first week, but we all have those moments where there’s just so much going on that it’s a little overwhelming. You don’t have all your friends with you that you’ve known since forever. Maybe the food just doesn’t compare to mom or dad’s cooking. Everything is such a big change that you really don’t know how to feel about it. You don’t have your trusty cat, dog, goldfish, or other to tell all the feelings you feel weird to admit to any person. And overall, you feel lonely. Trust me, it’s completely normal.

You’re going to have those moments where you feel out of place and where you feel like you don’t belong. You’re going to feel like everyone else has their set friend groups and you’re just the awkward being who got left out. Of course, this may not apply to the socialites, but for a shy person like me, college is definitely something that will take you way beyond your comfort zone, but you have to take a risk and be bold. That doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to be a social butterfly! It just means setting a goal so that each day, you meet new people and maybe even make some friends. Set a goal to meet three people each day, or if that’s pushing it, maybe aim for two, or even one! It’s the small steps that make the big difference.

Something that I’ve always felt uncomfortable with is sitting alone when eating in a big cafeteria. It’s practically a way of thinking that has been engraved into us ever since we became aware of something called “the social norm.” I mean, obviously, everyone is judging you and everyone is thinking, “what a loser.” You’ve heard this before but let me say it to you personally. THE WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOU. That girl who you think is totally judging you is really thinking about the quality of the coffee in the dining hall. That guy who walked by and shot you a glance didn’t even ponder your existence for more than a few seconds because he’s too focused on the bacon at the other end of the hall. It’s OK to be alone at times whether you’re eating or studying. No one is going to think you’re any lesser for it. So maybe the next time you have to go eat alone, bring a book, scroll through Instagram, or maybe go sit by someone else who is sitting alone and strike up a conversation. Something I’ve found about college is that most people are glad for the company and the conversation that may come.

All in all, to the introverts and the extroverts, to the shy guys and the socialites, be bold! This is your moment to shine and become the you that you’ve always wanted to be. Whether it’s through your education or the people you want to meet and befriend, it’s your time to shine.

Even if you hate it, stick it out. On average, it takes about a month to get used to a new place, so don’t base your whole college experience off of the few awkward or bad days you’ve had. Trust me, it’ll get better, though it might be in a way that you never expected it to occur.

Sincerely,

A Freshman