Dear College Freshmen
Make the most of your time still at home. Prepare for your new beginning. Get excited for college, and go for it when you get there.
By Sara Utsugi
When I was sick last week, I spent 12 hours watching Glee. In one of the numerous episodes I consumed, the senior New Directions members graduated and left Lima, Ohio. They were closing an epic chapter of their lives. They were closing a chapter that shaped and defined them, and as I watched that episode and the episodes about graduation and adaptation to college life, I got emotional because it reminded me of when I left for college. When I left for college, I was so, so sad. I was leaving the family, friends and school that raised me. I was breaking up with my boyfriend at the time, and I was moving to a new state with no friends or family. I was terrified.
If you don’t know me, you should know that I do not love change, and at that point in my life, I despised it. I couldn’t understand why I had to leave everything I knew and start over again. I loved the life I had in high school, and I thought that was the best it got. I had best friends, a great social life, all the extracurriculars and a supportive family. I didn't see any need for change. Now, some of you are recent or soon to be high school graduates. Congratulations. You did it! I know that around graduation time, it can be sad and lots of tears are shed (especially by our moms). I mean, it makes sense. It’s the end of an era. It means moving on, usually without your best friends and closest family members. But while this time is sad, I challenge you to embrace it, not as an ending, but as a beginning. (Oh, how cliché of me)
I know that when I was graduating and preparing to leave, I was always a little sad in the back of my mind since I could only see that final summer as an ending. But recent graduates (actually, let’s call you college freshmen), this is just the beginning of the greatest years of your lives. You’ve probably heard this before from your parents, aunts or uncles who graduated 40 years ago, but I’m here telling you as a college junior, that it is. Never have I experienced so much growth. Never have I experienced so much challenge. College is your time to take the world by storm. You are young. You are boundless, and everything is for your taking as long as you work hard and want it.
Yes, college is tough, not necessarily because of the academics, but because it’s your first taste at “adulting.” You decide when you wake up, do your laundry, not do your laundry, go to class, eat dinner, eat dessert, shower, go out, stay in, sleep or not sleep at all. Everything you do is almost entirely up to you, and that’s all a part of what makes it so exciting. Yes, college is scary. It’s unfamiliar and big, but even if it seems like you’re a tiny fish entering a massive ocean, just know that you’ll grow into it. Know, that you’ll make friends and find “your people.” You’ll join clubs and raise your hand in class and maybe even run for student government. And while you may be far away from home, you’ll find friends and mentors who become your home away from home. What I’m trying to express is that college is awesome, and I am literally smiling as I type this because that’s how excited I am for you.
Maybe some of you can’t relate to this article at all. High school sucked, and you can’t wait to ditch that hell hole. While that’s great, and I envy your excitement, don’t forget to slow down and appreciate what’s around you now. In a few months, you’ll be out of there conquering the world. So for now, give the people at home just a little more of your time, and don’t forget to be present.
College freshmen, I can’t nearly express to you how excited I am for you as you embark on this new, wild, scary, challenging and incredible beginning. I hope that you make the absolute most of your time still at home, but I hope even more that you don’t waste any of your new beginning stuck in the high school.
P.S. Keep an eye out for more "Dear College Freshman" posts!