Dear freshman me,
I wish I could tell you the exact reasons I am writing this. I wish I could honestly tell you that I am doing this for you and not for myself. You see, I was up early this morning, no scratch that, that is a lie. I never went to bed in the first place. Why? I don’t know. I was so tired and still my mind would not shut up so I opened the window right after dawn to let some of the fresh air in and it shocked me how cold it was. I guess, for one second, I did not realize what date it is. I did not realize that it is the first day of school. In the beginning I thought that it was odd to see a few loose leaves on the ground and a few on their way there, but then it made perfect sense.
The first day of school meant so much to me, for so long. This year it is just like any other day. Last year, despite being worried about starting university, it still meant a lot even thought it was no longer my “first day of school” as it is meant for all students except college students. This year I no longer feel attached to that date. For me the first day of school moved to a different date and soon it will do that for you as well. You will miss those high school days, until the day you realize that despite feeling like you do not fit in at university, you do. You will always miss those early mornings filled with math classes, but in a different way. I wish I had known this when I started university, maybe the start of term would have been slightly different. So this is why I am telling you the things I wished someone had told me.
You had so many plans, so many thoughts on how university would be and how all those plans would turn out. In fact, we both had. Don’t be stupid! Don’t panic. Plans change, they changed once before and you did just fine, you managed to get past it. You will manage to do that again and again and again. Take things as they are. You cannot control everything. There are so many unpredictable variables and you cannot think of all the possible outcomes since one tiny details might be slightly different and you get a whole new scenario.
Living in halls is not that bad. You don’t need to become friends with everyone on your floor. You don’t have to leave your door open for people to come in whenever they feel like it. They say you won’t have friends if you do not do that, but what do they know? They don’t know you. Maybe you are not interested on being friends with everyone. You will not be alone if you keep your door closed. There are common rooms and shared kitchens where you get to meet all sorts of people. There are even laundry rooms. For me, the laundry room was the place where I met one one of my closest friends.
Having a roommate might be a good thing, but also a bad thing. Life is not like in “How I met your mother”, there is no rule that says you need to remain friends or become best friends with your roommate. You just need to tolerate each other, to be civil to one another. Yes, it might be nice if you end up being friends for life, but things don’t always work that way, there is not reason to be disappointed no matter how nice it would have been.
You do not need to do anything you don’t feel comfortable doing. You do not need to drink in order to go to a party, to make friends. If you do, then they will never be your friends. You are better off without them. You don’t need to go to parties, unless of course, you want to. No is making you go. You are not wasting your like or missing out if you stay in with some close friends watching a movie or even by yourself reading a book or doing something else you like. There is no reason to worry! University has such a diverse student body that there is no way you will not meet someone like you.
Making friends at university is not easy. I am not going to sugarcoat it for you. You need to be prepared and deal with that fact. There are too many interests at stake. No everyone wants what is best for you. Listen to your siblings or your parents, they care about you more than most friends ever will. Some people might stay with you for the wrong reasons so look at the signs. Stay true to yourself. Don’t let anyone change you. Human beings need to be surrounded by others, they are not solitary creatures by nature, they are social, but it will not be the end of the world if you cannot find anyone in the beginning. You are at university to study and not to make friends. I am not saying that you should be alone, I am just trying to explain that it won’t be the worst thing that could happen.
Join as many clubs and societies your time allows you to. You will see that most of you college friends will not be from your hall, from the parties you attended or from your department. Most of your friends will be from the clubs you joined as those are the people who share your interests.
Attend as many lectures are possible. There is no excuse to skip school. Just because your time is your own and you have more liberties, that does not mean you have to abuse them. Manage your time properly and wake up early. Not going to a lecture because it is too early is not an excuse. You are paying a fortune to hear those people speak for 50 min. Make sure that your investment is worth it.
No need to pull an all nigher. It might save you once or twice, but usually it doesn’t. Choose a 30+10 and then move to a 50+10 studying schedule. It is a lot better for you, for your grades and for your health. Your will end up starring at the pages without understanding much if you spend several hours in a row “studying”. It won’t do any good, you will only end up hating your course and that is not the point.
Enjoy your college years, try and make the most of them as they are a unique experience that you will never get to live again.
And most of all be careful!