Open Letter To Incoming Freshmen

Open Letter To Incoming College Freshmen

It's not an easy adjustment, but you'll be okay.

JordynL
JordynL
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You've received your acceptance letters in the mail and you're insanely excited. No words can fully express how happy you feel. You just know that you're starting a new chapter in your life and you can't wait for it to begin. You should. There's so many opportunities that are in your reach and soon, you'll be studying in a field that you're passionate about (or that pays well).

Now that you've seen your future bright and shiny in front of you, even if you haven't decided what you want to do with your life, reality sets in. All of the bills that'll drain your parent's bank accounts, enrolling in your classes, hoping that your professors aren't terrible, figuring out where you're going to live, terrified that you'll have the WORST roommate in the history of roommates, and so much more. If you're anything like me, the only thing that makes all those things bearable is the fact that you'll finally be out of your parent's house and able to make your own decisions without their supervision. Although if you're not like me, you're probably terrified of leaving home. Wondering how homesick you'll be, how you'll function without your parents, if they're okay, if your pets are okay, or terrified because you came to the realization that you don't know how to do your own laundry.

No matter how you feel after the excitement settles and reality sets in, you have to know that it's all okay. You WILL pull through and you WILL figure it out. Everyone does. Some take longer than others and THAT IS OKAY. The important thing to remember is that you'll eventually get there, to a comfortable point, and soon you'll be telling future incoming freshmen the same thing.

I'm currently a junior, soon to be a senior. I experienced almost every single one of these things. After I had practically drown myself with tears of joy, just seeing the envelope I might add, reality set in. 'How much is this going to cost? How will I know what to to enroll in? Where am I going to live? Will my roommate be easy to get along with or will I want to choke her?' And SO many more. That's perfectly normal and it's okay. I've never really been a nervous or scared person, but I was terrified. I was comfortable where I was, but I knew for me to get my degree for my dream career, it was what I needed to do. I put on my game face and I recommend you do the same. Even if you're terrified, fake it till you make it.

First and foremost, tuition will cost A LOT. But the main thing to keep in mind is that regardless of the impending financial situation, your parents are SO proud and they'll do anything and everything for you. They'll always be in your corner, supporting you financially and emotionally. They've been doing that your entire life anyway, and the fact that you're going to college and furthering your education has them giddy with excitement. And if y'all are struggling anyway, they'll find a way to make it work- always. If your help happens to be necessary, just get a job on campus. They're super simple and flexible with your class schedule- they HAVE to be (and don't let an employer tell you otherwise).

Enrolling for classes is easy, whether you know your major or not. You'll be taking your prerequisite classes (Gen-Eds) anyway, so you don't need to know. There should be a list on your school's website informing you of the classes that EVERYONE has to take. Start there and you'll be fine. And professors? They're hit and miss. Normally there's professor reviews somewhere online, so just find those and that'll tell you (almost) everything you need to know.

Living situation? ON-CAMPUS HOUSING. Normally colleges require incoming freshmen to live on campus anyway, so there you go. If you don't take a college tour (like me), there should (hopefully) be pictures or 360 degree views of the dorms so you can make your decision accordingly. It's super simple. Cost could limit where you live because of your family's budget and that's okay. You'll only be there for a semester or two max, then you can move somewhere else. And roommates from hell? In my experience, it's best to contact your roommate beforehand. If you choose a dorm with someone already listed, hopefully they'll have something in their roommate bio. If they don't, social media is always the answer (just don't be creepy). "Hi I'm so-and-so and I'm your roommate! I just wanted to get to know you since we'll be living together" or something like that. Normally the response is pleasant, so no worries. Figure out who will buy what (if you're sharing), set rules for each other AHEAD OF TIME, and so on. That way, nothing is unpleasant during move-in and it won't be as awkward! If you don't contact them beforehand, all I have to say is.. good luck.

If you're excited to leave home and get away from your parents, more power to you. But if you're not, it'll be okay. Your parents will be okay, your pets will be okay. Although if you have a dog or any animal that fits in an aquarium, most colleges allow you to bring them. Dogs have to be certified therapy dogs though. Just get a note from your doctor for depression, anxiety, etc. and there shouldn't be a problem. And PLEASE give your roommate a fair warning. Most are okay with it but some aren't, so just don't take the risk and surprise them. EVERYONE experiences homesickness eventually. Whether it's your parents, the rest of your family, the area, your friends, whatever. It's okay. Everyone is only a phone call away. If you live close, take road-trips back home and pay surprise visits to people. They'll absolutely love it, I promise.

Laundry? You'll be fine. Hopefully you already know how to do it but if you don't, just ask your parent(s) to show you before you leave. They'll probably laugh or smile uncontrollably but that's only because they're happy; happy that you're growing up into a functioning, self-sufficient adult.

If you're worried about making friends, it's okay. There are tons of clubs and events to attend. You'll make friends. That's a 100% guarantee with life-time warranty. They say that friends that you make in college last a lifetime. If I could think of anyone that's a perfect example of that, it's my mom. Her and her college friends have stuck by each others' sides, regardless of distance, disagreements or whatever, for 30-40 years (taking into consideration age and college returns). Excluding college, I've known my oldest friend basically our entire lives- all the way back to the diaper days. We're both almost 21 years old. Trust me when I say you'll make friends and y'all will be closer than any of your high school friends. Take that to heart. I learned the hard way.

Aside from all of this, you need to have fun. Go to games, even if you don't like sports. The vibe and excitement is worth it. Go to college parties- you need to experience at least ONE good one. When you're old enough, go bar-hopping with your friends. Be active in something other than school. --But PLEASE do your assignments first or you'll probably forget OR be stressed out because you're rushing to finish it before the midnight deadline. Learn from my personal experience please.

The most important thing that you NEED to know is that you'll CONSTANTLY be stressed out, but it'll all be worth it in the end. Search on Instagram, or whatever, #ClassOf2019 and look for college students. By now, they're getting their caps and gowns and taking their senior pictures. Think ahead four or five years. Picture yourself in that cap and gown. You can do this. That WILL be you.

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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My Mom Is My Biggest Weakness In The Best Way Possible

Although my mom is still my parent, she's also a friend.

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My parents are everything to me. They raised me to be independent, strong, smart, and hard working. They made sure to keep me in line, to ensure that I would be respectful and responsible. They raised me to be prepared for the world before I graduated high school. For everything they've done, I'm very grateful.

Focusing on my mom more specifically, she is my weakness. By that I mean, I can go to her with anything and I know she's willing to listen, to be open, and she won't impart judgment.

My mom always knows how to calm me down, but she is the one person who can also make me cry harder. I don't mean this in a bad way. It's just that whenever I've had a tough day or my anxiety has been heightened by some ordeal, I know that if I see my mom or if I even call her over the phone, the waterworks come flooding. I don't know what it is about my mom that makes me feel so emotional, so vulnerable. Each time I go to her, it's almost as if I'm a kid again, crawling into her mother's arms, seeking a nurturing soul to tell me that everything will be okay.

Sometimes I even avoid calling my mom when I'm in a rut because I refuse to cry or feel weak. For instance, if I had a problem, I'd avoid talking to her about it. If a week goes by, I'll update her on my problems, and begin crying about it (even though I was already over it beforehand). My mom can bring out anything from me. She laughs when I tell her this because she knows that no matter how old her baby girl gets, she'll always need her mama.

I think as I've gotten older, I've realized how much more my parents mean to me. As a kid, I always felt like they were against me. I felt as if they didn't want me to do anything and didn't want me to grow. As an adult, I realize it's the exact opposite. My parents have always wanted what's best for me, and because I've grown to understand this, I feel so much closer to them.

I feel as though now, although my mom is still my parent, she's also a friend. She's someone I can go to when I feel down, someone I can go to for a good laugh. She's so much better than me in so many ways. She's outgoing, loud, obnoxious, smart, and is always seeing the good in situations. When I talk about my mom to other people, they're always so interested in meeting with her or talking with her. When they finally get the chance to, they're instantly drawn to her character. They're drawn to her laughter. I kid you not, my mom can light up a room in seconds. She is always the life of the party. It sometimes makes me jealous when people find out how amazing my mother is because I swear they'd rather be friends with her than me.

What people don't see is her struggles. They don't see the pain she goes through with her ongoing injury. They don't see that not only does it take a physical toll, but also an emotional toll. She hides it really well because that's what parents are "supposed to do." My mom is the strongest person I know and to see the two contrasts of her is astonishing. To think that someone so full of life can also battle personal struggles, it's hard to see, especially because she's my mom and all I want is the best for her. One part of my mom struggles while the other part of her is so vibrant, so full of life, so sassy.

I don't know how she's put up with all of the hardships in her life. I've never seen someone work so hard and refuse to fail. She refuses to be taken advantage of. I've never seen someone as amazing as my mother. She can do anything.

I think my mom looks down on herself sometimes. I think, like any woman, she sees imperfections. What I don't think she sees, that I wish she would, is the tenacity she has. I want her to see herself the way I do: beautiful, strong, courageous, sassy, outgoing. I could go on and on about how much my mom inspires me and how she's made me appreciate her in more ways than one.

Mom, thank you for all that you do and all that you are. I hope you know how much Rachel, Vanessa and I all love you. I hope you know that no matter what struggles we go through, you are our rock. You hold the fort down and you're always there to make sure we're good, even when you aren't yourself. Thank you for always thinking of us, for believing in us, and for never turning your back. I love you more than you know.

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