An Open Letter To My Freshman Year Self

An Open Letter To My Freshman Year Self

Relax.

First things first, take a deep breath.

And another.

And another.

OK, are you ready now?


Dear Freshman Self,

Everything is OK, and everything will be OK.

You are such a caring, thoughtful, and courageous young woman and you are going to really learn how strong you are in the next couple of years. I know you feel lost and overwhelmed and are adjusting to a new place but please don't take it all so seriously. This time will fly by, I promise you.

You are worth so much. Please surround yourself with people who make you feel that. All your life you have had friends just because you didn't have many to choose from, but now the choices are endless. Be selective in who you surround yourself with. It is OK to not click with people and to choose to no longer have them in your life. This is your book and you get to choose the characters. Don't let the natural process of friends coming and going from your life leave you so distressed, this is a blessing. Truly wonderful people are waiting for you, and this is making room for them.

Let him go. Let the yelling go. Let the fighting go. Let the constant stress go. You will feel as if the weight of the world has been released from your shoulders.

When you do let him go (and you will because even as a freshman you still kick ass) enjoy the time by yourself for a bit. Don't jump into the arms of another because you aren't sure how to be by yourself yet. You will figure it out. You are capable, I promise.

If it doesn't feel right then get up and go. YOU CAN SAY NO. You can say no to any situation at any time. Does that make sense to you? Please let that really sink into your head. At any point in time you can choose to change a situation. Later on you will realize how you wish you had done this more. This is your life, stop being afraid to make decisions and confront people. If someone is being sh**ty it is not your responsibility to make them feel OK about it.

You don't have to do it all. You don't have to work three jobs. You don't have to stay up all night. You don't have to go to every party and do amazing in every class. You are adjusting and figuring it all out and that is OK. Take a moment to breathe.

Continue to try new things and put yourself out there. You will meet people this way. The insecurity of trying new things won't last forever. Thank you for the courageous decisions you made and for finally being yourself. Your personality finally came through freshman year and we have really come a long way because of it.

The mistakes you're making are OK, I promise I survived the aftermath.

Lastly, enjoy this time. You are blessed to be exactly where you are. This time will fly by, you will grow, and you will change. But for the meantime, just enjoy it.

Love You More Each Day,

Your Proud Senior Year Self

P.S- I get you may have started out with a major you didn't enjoy, but please try to figure this out ASAP, because switching majors is a pain in the ass.

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Having Two Homes In College Is Harder Than I Thought

Coming back from break I thought my life was falling apart.

When my first semester came to an end, I was dreading leaving Texas Tech for five whole weeks. I loved it here. l was completely content with my classes, my friends, my cozy little dorm (aka shoebox), and the fact that there was always something to do. I felt like Lubbock was my home.

But then... winter break happened. And as quickly as it went by, the amount of things that changed in that five weeks was insane.

Over the break, I became more aware of what I have always had, but had never fully appreciated. I started out my break going from one place to another, trying to stay busy with friends, work, anything... I was barely ever home. Then came my one-week winter conference, and God revealed to me what I have been missing out on while constantly trying to stay busy.

I realized that I had been taking my family for granted. I used to constantly go out and see friends whenever I could but never made quality time for my family. So as I grew in my faith over break, I grew closer with my mom, my dad, and my sisters, and I can honestly say that we have become so much closer in just those few weeks.

I also held a higher appreciation for my friends, given that It was more about the quality of time rather than the quantity. I was able to deepen my relationship with my closest friends and cherish our memories and all the amazing people in my life who care about me.

I learned so much about myself over winter break and in those short few weeks, and was able to grow tremendously. I cherished my loved ones, and everything God has given me to a new extent. And as break was ending, I realized I wasn't ready to go back to college.

That last day came, and I said goodbye and left to move back to my little shoebox that I call home. But you see, right when I got there, it didn't feel like home anymore.

Everything felt weird. It felt off. I missed my family, my friends back at home, and the comfort I had felt in knowing that everything was okay and going to be okay. Here, I felt lost, and scared, like I had no idea where life was taking me.

My first few days consisted of me running around saying hi to everyone, going out, and trying to pull everything together to start the semester. If you've lived in freshmen dorms, you may or may not have had to experience the 90 degrees heating system they so nicely gave us. So... because of the conditions, I didn't really spend much time in my dorm, and if I did, it just made me irritated and overheated.

A few days into being back, when I was finally able to be alone with my thoughts and process everything around me, I realized I was not okay, and it hit hard. I couldn't stop crying, and I felt so alone. I just wanted to go back home, well... my other home.

Sitting with my thoughts helped me get everything out into the open and realize that yes, I miss being home, but it will probably just take some time to get used to everything.

I went grocery shopping with my friends that night. They could tell something was off and were trying to be there for me as much as they could. We sang and danced to throwbacks in the car, and pushed each other around in the grocery carts while shopping (yes, I am still 5 years old).

That night, when I got back, I felt a little more okay, a little more stable, and everything started to make more sense. Day by day, through my friends, the memories I'm making, and the newly found comfort of my dorm (once they turned my heat off and I finally unpacked), everything started to feel a little homier.

Going back and forth between two lives isn't easy. I would never have thought I would be wanting to stay home at the beginning of break, but I think that coming back to my hometown from college gave me a new appreciation for everything that I have there, and I realized I'd rather have something worth missing than nothing at all.

I still miss my family, friends, and hometown life crazy, but they will be there when I get back, and for now, I will continue my journey here, and appreciate everything God has given me in sweet ol' Lubbock Texas.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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When Home Is No Longer A Place

Understanding what "home" is when you have more than one

As a way of killing time during my last week of vacation, I’ve been organizing the photos saved on my computer, and have gone through almost twenty years of my life as a result. Looking at so many photos over different periods of my life has been like watching a montage of the most memorable images I have lived through. It allowed me to see the beginnings and endings I’ve experienced: the different friend groups I’ve had, milestones like my high school graduation, and the last photo I took outside my house in London before my family moved to Brazil.

Going through photos reminded me the ways my life has changed over the years, especially the places I have lived in and have called “home” at a certain point. The idea of home has always been somewhat blurry to me and is something that I’ve never been quite able to define. The few times I have moved to a new country, I felt like I was leaving my true home behind. When I moved to Brazil, I felt like my real home was in London, yet when I moved away for college, I knew I was leaving another home again. The way I thought about home was constantly changing, to the point where I felt like I had several homes scattered across the world, each representing a different phase of my life.

While attending an international school for almost eight years, I became part of a community of students who had experienced moving from place to place and making new lives for themselves every time they moved. I got used to my friends moving away and making new ones every semester when more people came in. In more ways than one, everyone who was a part of our school’s international community had experienced these changes, and for those who moved as often as once a year, the idea of home can become especially complex.

Even though I have only moved a few times, I am still confronted with the way I define home every time I go back to one of the places I have lived in before. Coming home after my first semester of college was a shock to me: while it seemed like everything was still the same as when I left, it was clear that life in Brazil had gone on without me for the past six months. It was still the home I knew, but it was different, and it had moved on.

Reminiscing on the places I’ve defined as home made me realize that, for me, home is something that is constantly changing, and is often more than just a place. Home can be a person you’ve known your entire life, a sensation of total comfort, or somewhere that transports you back to your past. If you are someone who has moved around, if you went to an international school, if you left your family to go to college, then you may understand what it’s like to leave certain pieces of your identity in different places. I spent my childhood in London, grew up in Brazil, and learned to live independently in New York—when I return to each of them, I know I’m going somewhere that contains a piece of me and probably always will.

Cover Image Credit: chuttersnap

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