First things first:

Congratulations.

You are about to embark on an adventure that is truly incomparable to anything you've ever experienced. That in itself is pretty awesome. You worked your ass off senior year to get to this point. Applications. Standardized tests. Essays. All are now things of your past (that is, until grad school opportunities come around in four years or so). It is now time to celebrate what is in the very near future: your freshman year of college.

If I’m being honest, how this year turns out is solely up to you.

A positive attitude and desire to do well both go a long way, even if you don’t love school at first. Yes, it’s possible that you could have second thoughts about where you end up, even if you attend your top-choice school. And that’s OK. There will be a whirlwind of emotions during your first semester, as you are making a major life transition. It will get better. I cannot promise that it’ll get better fast enough, but you will eventually find your way through the twists and turns that come with freshman year.

In the meantime, prepare yourself for what is about to be a wild ride. It’s not going to be easy.

You will soon understand why college is such a daunting experience for many, and it will likely hit you all at once. Please, take care of yourself. Nothing is more important than your physical, mental, and overall health. As selfish as that may sound, your well-being will dictate how your experience turns out. Below are a few takeaways that I’d like to share -- I really wish I had known these things before my freshman year.

Don’t give into what others are doing if it’s not your style, because those decisions will come back to haunt you. Understand that not everyone will be your best friend. You win some, you lose some -- and that’s OK. Speaking of ‘win some, lose some’, college kids suck sometimes.

Do not go into this thinking you’ll be committed to someone from the get go. You’ll figure that aspect of your life eventually, and it doesn’t need to be at age 18. Be the life of the party -- enjoy your weekends away from home while you can. Study, study, study. You’re paying crazy money for this opportunity-- degrees are not handed out like free candy. Save your money! You’ll be glad when you can treat yourself to a new pair of shoes mid-semester. Lastly, get some sleep… seriously. Staying up till 2 AM every night due to binge-drinking caffeine is not good for your health.

There is so much more that I could say, but most importantly:

Enjoy it.

You only get to be a freshman once.