5 things i’d tell my freshman self

it’s week four of my final semester of my undergraduate career, and i am feeling all the things. (that’s me using relevant “millennial talk” so you know i’m actually a college student and not a blog writing robot. although there are so many blogs out there that robots might be actually writing most of them. i digress.)

i don’t know what comes next. it feels like you put all of your time, tears, and lying-on-the-floor-in-the-fetal-position-sessions into this one day of degree receiving, and then when the time is actually approaching all that you can think is, “i have no idea what to do with my life now.” i’m an english major, which means many (most) of my peers are going to grad school. my guess is i will end up there eventually, but for now, i’m not interested in SAP’s, GRE’s, or any other rhyming acronyms.

this has already become a different topic–instead of focusing on the future, which is terrifying, unknown territory–let’s get back to where i started: 5 things i wish i could tell myself 4 and 1/2 years ago/reflection on that first year, so my tenses are going to change weirdly. sorry ’bout it.

1) you’re going to be lonely-and that’s okay. i had a single dorm my freshman year, and a small part of me regrets that decision. i was not the best at putting myself out there in order to make new friends, so i spent a lot of my time alone. this was fantastic for my own being–i had my own schedule, my own space without anyone else in it, and i learned a lot about who i was. i don’t regret it in the aspect of living with a roommate that first year might have set me on a different path and i might not be where i am today, but i sometimes wonder how my college experience would be different if i had lived in a double.

2) communal washers and dryers in a freshman dorm are almost as bad the communal bathroom, but only almost. occasionally people would leave wet clothes in one of the two washers for days on end. it was frustrating and disgusting as you needed to wash your things obviously, but would find other people’s hair in the empty washer or dryer. (excuse me while i dry-heave at the memory.) communal showers are gross for all of the expected reasons, but in my 9 months of living in chaffee hall, there was fresh vomit on the floor mere feet from the toilet, twice. other people are kind of the worst, but these instances gave me the answer to family who asked how college was, which leads me to number 3.

3) college is kind of like every college movie you’ve ever seen, but it’s good to remember that there is no one way to do college “right.” i’m not sure if it’s because movies emulate real life or if we’re trying to emulate the movies we’ve seen. either way it’s crazy and weird and also sort of awesome and probably not something i could have experienced if i had gone to the college in my hometown. there isn’t one college experience though, and you need to do what’s right for you. 4 and 1/2 years later, i think you did that.

4) the freshman 15–or in your case, 9–is very real. also, remember that clear skin you had in high school? yeah, that goes away. i don’t know if it’s a change in climate, eating habits, stress, but you break out like a 13-year-old. it really, really sucks.

5) it all works out. seriously. it’s scary and lonely and stressful, but you stick it out and it is worth it. (okay maybe not the zits and the weight gain, but otherwise, i would do it the same way all over again.) you’ve made it. i’m really proud of you.




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