Dear College Freshman,
I’d like to start this letter by asking you to take a deep breath. You are doing amazing and you have come so far already. I’d also like to tell you that I don’t actually know all there is to know about college. I’m a current senior at Rollins, but I’m still very much figuring it all out. College is such a weird shift in your life when you first transition from high school. Suddenly it’s goodbye to the home and people you’ve known your whole life and hello to a whole new set of everything. You pretty much start over in so many ways and it can be extremely overwhelming.
And in many ways, starting over is an amazing opportunity. It gives you a chance to find your footing and try new things that might lead to the rest of your life. Or maybe the next year of your life. Or maybe you’ll try it and you’ll hate it. I think that’s kind of the beauty of college. There’s a lot of room to grow and change your mind.
But the idea of starting over is also hard and often scary. It’s hard to make new friends, leave your home, and take new classes. Life just feels like it made a 360-degree turn upside down.
If I could tell you one thing it would be to take the pressure off of yourself. You might not meet your best friend in the first week, semester, or year. You might hate your first, second, or third major choice. One professor might challenge you and you’ll spend nights studying hoping for a passing grade. Sometimes you’ll wish you got more exercise and sometimes you’ll wish you got more sleep (most times on that one.)
Allow yourself this time to grow. To be honest, absolutely no one has it all figured out. And that won’t magically change when you graduate. I’ve found the most success in taking things one step at a time and taking the pressure off of myself to have it all together.
Reach out to people who you want to get to know better. I promise so many people are feeling as lonely as you. I met my best friend and roommate of three years from an Instagram DM. Also, real life is not social media. Everyone is having ups and downs. One minute you’re thriving, and the next you are questioning everything.
I believe that college gives you the chance to figure out what’s important to you. Who are the kind of people who build you up and make you feel good? And what kinds of activities do that as well? Do things because you want to do them and not because someone tells you that you should.
So, here’s to you just simply figuring it all out. There’s no perfect guidebook to college. It’s full of ups and downs and new directions. It gets better with time. Trust yourself and know your boundaries. College isn’t perfect, but I’m also the happiest I have ever been right now. Not because life is perfect or because I have it all figured out. But because I’ve been lucky enough to find people who don’t make me second guess if I’m loved. I’ve found places at Rollins that make me feel smart and good enough. And I’ve let myself grow, make mistakes, change my mind, and keep going. And all of these things definitely did not happen overnight. I really struggled to find my place at first. But I slowly did, and you will too.
Rollins is a place full of so many wonderful people and opportunities. However, I know some days can be really hard. So, I just want to remind you that you are loved, capable, and worthy. It’s all going to be okay. Take it one step at a time. The hard days are long, and the good ones are way too short. And somewhere in the middle of all those days, you’ll start to find yourself. And I think that deserves celebrating.
You got this friend. I’m figuring it out right there with you. Here’s to your next four years!
All the love, Annie
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