Dear Freshman Self,
Congratulations! You’re about to embark on the most epic journey you’ve ever been on. You have no idea what the next four years have in store for you, but let me tell you… they’re going to be lit. You don’t know what that means yet, but you will.
Just so you know, it all works out in the end, but not in the ways you expect. Right now, you’re telling yourself that you’re definitely going to have solid plans after graduation. You still think you’re going to graduate school, you don’t know exactly what you want to be just yet, but you know where your heart lies and what you have to do to get there. You’re off to a solid start, Freshman Self, much more than many others. Consider yourself lucky, because this will be the foundation for the next four years of stress tears, happy tears, delusional 4 a.m. laughter, and applications- lots, and lots of applications.
You will work your ass off every. single. day. You won’t pass every class with flying colors, so get that idea out of your head right now. You might actually fail. Maybe more than once. Oops. This isn’t high school anymore. Your GPA will go up and down like a f***ing rollercoaster and at first you will hate yourself for it. A few semesters later, you’ll get over it and realize your GPA only really matters if you’re going to pursue a higher education, and, surprise! You won’t be, at least not right away. You figure that one out pretty quickly. Your family might give you sh*t for it for a little while, but eventually, they’ll get over it too. They trust you to make your own big girl decisions, and for that, you should be grateful.
You’ll apply to be on lots of committees and for tons of internships. You will not be selected for all of them, and you’ll wonder what was wrong with you and why you weren’t good enough. Guess what? You are good enough! Don’t ever, ever doubt yourself, because in the end, everything that’s meant to be will be. Are you throwing up yet? Are you SO surprised at what a cheesy, emerging adult you’ve become? Stop making fun of yourself. You’ll be fine and you’ll accomplish what you set your mind to the most. You’ll go away for a summer to work your dream job; you’ll find mentors in your professors and bosses. You’ll discover new loves and passions along the way, you’ll learn a million and one new things, and it won’t always be easy, but it will be so much f***ing fun. You’re going to look back at your college career and you’ll be damn proud of your body of work and how you somehow managed to pull it off. Remember that you didn’t do this alone. Thank the people who helped you and always keep them close.
You will make friends. You will make family. You will find people to cry to and people to laugh with. You will go on tons of adventures and do things your young self never thought you would do. Sometimes, you’ll question your values. Don’t ever be ashamed. You’re growing and this is all part of the process. You will meet people you don’t like, more than you expect. Suck it up and learn to deal with them. You love the people you love so much more than you dislike the ones you dislike. They will bring you so much joy and laughter. You will have multiple moments of deep thought where you’ll look around and feel truly, genuinely and wholeheartedly happy. The best thing about college is that these moments are not few and far between. You’ll walk to class and look around at the beautiful place you’ve chosen to associate yourself with for the rest of your life, and you’ll remind yourself how lucky you are to call it home.
Your campus really does become your home, Freshman Self. Yes, you live at home with your family. You commute every morning and every night. Your house is still your home but you’ll quickly learn that you can have more than one, and sometimes you’ll prefer one over the other. That’s perfectly okay. You will spend multiple nights here studying, partying, studying some more, eating, having long conversations about superficial things, having superficial conversations about deep things, maybe doing some things you’ll regret in the morning but never, ever going against who you are. Be proud of yourself. Don’t punish yourself for making mistakes. Everyone makes them and if you’re going to mess up, now’s the time. By all means, mess up! Get into arguments. Drink too much once in a while. Let lose. This is one of your biggest regrets, Freshman Self. You didn’t let lose enough. Try to remember that yes, college is a crucial time for learning and networking, but it’s also a time to have lots of fun. It’s such a unique, beautiful moment in time that you won’t ever get back! This is your chance! Take full advantage of it. Get out of bed. Stop binge watching “Gilmore Girls” and crafting. Go to the frat party. Don’t be scared to try using your fake ID (literally come on). Run around the tailgate and don’t be worried that you look like an idiot. Everyone looks like an idiot and no one will remember you anyways.
On that note, go to every football game! Yes, it’s a full-day commitment; it’s hot, the port-o-potties are always out of toilet paper and it might rain, but so what? Again, you only get one chance to do this right. Stop making excuses and saying that next year you’ll do better. I know it’s not your thing, but man, will you regret not going when it’s over. If no one wants to go with you, go by yourself. There’s no shame in that and maybe you’ll meet even more people to make you feel those moments of complete, genuine happiness we were talking about before.
Eat outside once in a while. Sit on the Green during the farmer’s market. Buy the kettle corn even though it’s expensive. Also, for God’s sake, save money. Stop buying things you don’t need and bring your own food from home more often. This will save you a solid $200 a month at the very least. Senior You will thank you. Ubers to South Beach, Rat pitchers and drinks at Monty’s on Fridays don’t pay for themselves, you know.
Stop complaining about your job. You’ll meet some of your best friends there. Get out of your comfort zone. I can’t stress this enough. A very wise, very smart person who you have yet to meet once told you, “Nothing amazing ever truly happens there.” This is beyond true, Freshman Self, but you won’t figure this out until much later. Don’t let that happen. Take advantage of the gym. You say you don’t have time, but really, you spend more time on Facebook than on things you actually have to get done, so stop being lazy because in four years you’ll realize that a membership doesn’t come with employment most of the time.
There are so many more things I could tell you, little one, that could make your college experience even better than it already has been, but I’ll stop here. At the end of the day, you did college the way you wanted to do it. And sure, you have a few regrets, but your experience was amazing. It was exciting and demanding and crazy and stressful and everything in between. And you’re leaving this place with lifelong friends, irreplaceable memories, and (oh, yeah) a degree.
The more I sit here and tell you to do things differently, the more your experience will change, and ultimately you wouldn’t change a thing. You’re going to love it here, Freshman Self, and one day, you’ll sit on a glider at the Rat with a pitcher and a grilled cheese, and wonder what you ever did to deserve to call yourself a Hurricane.
Your Senior Self
Veronica is a senior majoring in Journalism. She wants to pursue a career in magazines after she graduates and is currently Managing Editor of distractionmagazine.com. She enjoys the beach, Cuban coffee, and anything Beyonce- related. Follow her on Twitter at @veee_low.