Dear fearful teen,
I know how you are feeling right now. That crazy mix of emotions that transitions between excitement, fear, and overall apprehension. You have been waiting for this day for so many years, and now that it has come, you just do not even know what to think.
Whether you have chosen a school just miles from your house, or are moving cross-country away from your family, you know deep down that nothing will ever be the same. And while I would love to calm all of your fears and say that it will all be the same next year, I am simply here to tell you that it will not. But, it is all going to be okay.
College is a time of change. It is a time to move away, to become independent, and find who you really are. Nothing will ever be the same, but I can say, from experience, that it will be alright in the end. The year will go by. You will experience the highest highs and the lowest lows, and life will go on.
College is going to change you. You are going to meet the most amazing people you will meet in your entire life. I know this is surely what your parents have been telling you, and you surely think "but nobody can be more amazing than the friends I already have."
And while you must make a special effort when moving away to keep these friends close to your heart, you must also be willing to branch out and meet these amazing new college beings. These are the people who will be at your wedding someday, whose children will be your children's best friends one day, whose families will one day become your own.
And in college, you will learn things you never knew you needed to know. Because young, fearful teen, I am here to tell you that college is not about getting a degree. (GASP!) I know.
You have been told forever that college is about learning and choosing your forever career, and finding your place in the world. While college certainly does provide you with these things, it is simply not what college is for. College is for finding your best friends, and learning to fail, and learning to bounce back from these failures. It's about learning your limits and learning to be free and learning to be who you are.
Yes, the 10 page papers help to teach you these lessons. But, college is about so much more than that. Even if one day you chose to be a stay at home parent or change your career path, college will forever have provided you with the most amazing memories of your life.
So, fearful college freshman, get excited. This journey is something that you will cherish for your whole life. There are still days when I question what college is, and why I am here, and what I have learned. But then I remember how blessed I am to be gaining such a meaningful experience alongside my forever best friends.
An equally fearful, but slightly more experienced, soon to be college sophomore