Dear Rising Freshman Friends of Mine,
I hope you are ready. College is not something that you can not completely prepare for. There are challenges coming your way that you probably have not even begun to think about, but I am not telling you this to worry you. I am telling you this because people often talk about the classes or the social aspect, but neglect the hard parts.
Something that I would often tell myself and my other friends was that "someone else has lived this way before you and has been successful doing it." Take it from me, I moved across the country leaving my family behind. The homesickness was real, especially when my friends could easily go home for the weekends. However, I would remind myself that there were other people who were also in the same situation as me and that people decades ago have done the same thing. This would make me feel better because I knew it could be done.
Another issue would be making friends. This is a skill you may lack now due to being friends with the people you grew up with. Now, this can be scary. Not everyone wants to put themselves out there. You may not know how to approach someone or how to ask someone to hang out later. For this, I recommend joining a club. It is the perfect opportunity to meet other people that also have the same interest as you. Even at orientation, you should try to talk to the people around you because they are honestly just as nervous as you are. Make friends that have the same classes as you because you will see these people on a routine basis. Overall, make friends that have your interest inheart, who can show you new things, and people that share your major, and people whose major you had no idea it existed.
Do not be afraid to use the resources around you. This is not high school anymore. Tons of people can tell you this, but I feel you will not understand this until you experience it for yourself. You may recognize this when you realize you are not really prepared for a test or you do not understand your latest assignment. This is when you need to use your resources because schools often offer tutoring that you can use if you are taking a certain class. There are also office hours and teaching assistants who can help you understand something better if you ask for help ahead of time.
Altogether, I could tell you every single experience I have had in college and it still would not be enough to prepare you for everything you are going to go through during this time of growth. This new chapter on your life is going to be full of great memories and great opportunities that you would not be able to get anywhere else. Step out of your comfort zone this year and be ready to do new things with your new friends. Don't forget to post all of these things on social media, I can't wait to see them.