To the girl who will live in my freshman year dorm room,
When you walk in on move-in day, people will come flying in behind you with boxes of all your stuff so you will have no time to take in this empty, white-walled, what seems to be the smallest thing you've ever seen, dorm room. You'll imagine for a second what it will feel like to come home to after a long night in the library or to share late night talks with your roommate from her bed that's 10 feet away.
As you start to put your things away, you'll realize that you've brought way too much stuff. You'll tell your parents that you want to loft your bed to the highest stilt (because you never got a bunk bed when you were little). You'll put your desk under your bed and hang string lights over it so it feels like you're sitting under the stars. I know, I did it too.
It's hardwood floor in there. Get a rug. It's the best decision I ever made. It's a pillow when you come home from your first exam and just want to lay down and cry but can't make it to the bed. It's a perfect spot when all your friends come to eat pizza and watch a movie (the best kind of Saturday night) and they won't all fit on your bed. It's where you'll lay with your roommate and watch "One Tree Hill" all hours of the night because the WiFi doesn't reach to your bed that is 10 feet in the air. It's where you'll sit to spread out all your homework and wonder where in the world to start.
While buying new decorations is one of the most exciting things about coming to college, bring something from home. It feels a little more like home when you walk in the door to a canvas that has hung on your wall since sixth grade.
After about two weeks of falling out of your lofted bed or climbing/falling out for an 8 a.m. chemistry lab, you'll realize that you don't wish you had a bunk bed when you were little anymore. You'll realize that it's not worth it, and you and your roommate will try to move all your furniture around but it will just result in now a very unstable bed, the serious need of a shower, and scratches on the floor that you hope the RA doesn't notice at the end of the year.
Sharing a room freshman year is seen as a nuisance. But don't take it for granted. Soon, you'll wish that you could lay in the dark again and chat about how you're dropping out because you'll never pass chemistry. You'll soon wish that life was as simple as "Hey, can I eat your chocolate pudding? I'm craving it." You'll soon wish that you could lay on that rug all night watching "One Tree Hill" together telling Brooke Davis that she better just go back and tell Julian that she loves him too because we all know she does. You'll soon miss coming home to the question, "How was your biology exam?" because even though the exam was terrible, it warms your heart that someone noticed how much you've struggled all week and you know she was listening when you said, "I'm going to drop out before this exam on Friday," like a billion times.
Don't be scared to hang up pictures of your family and friends from home. No one is going to think you're still living in high school, everyone misses home. You'll make new friends, you'll take new pictures but keep the old ones up, too. It's not just about where you are, but where you came from too.
Everyone will tell you, "Just get through freshman year and then you can live in an apartment. It's only one year in a dorm." But don't.
Don't just bear through it. Enjoy it. It's the only time you'll live there. It will probably be the only time you lay next to that person that was a stranger six months ago and babble about how you are dropping out because you'll never figure out a major. It will probably be the only time you'll sit on a rug and cry to "Safe Haven" while shoving pizza in your face in this tiny little room. It'll probably be the only time you have to get a running jump and use to a stool just to get into your bed. It'll probably be the only time that your closet is smaller than your kitchen cabinets at home and you learn that "dressing to impress" doesn't even matter that much. While it's just a 15x11 room, it'll teach you more than you could ever know and it's the best place on Earth.
Freshman year is a journey. It's a struggle. It's a joy. It's the time of your life.
And I'm telling you, don't take this room for granted.
It's home for a year and it's the best home. Enjoy it, my friend.