I remember the first day of my freshman year like it was yesterday. My mom cried as we said goodbye, and I got this sinking, terrible feeling in my stomach. No matter how old you are, you are always going to miss your mom and you always are going to hate to see her cry. After the rest of my family left, I remember thinking how surreal it was to finally be in college and to be living in my first dorm room with two complete strangers.
I wish I could turn back time and tell myself that things were going to work out even if it didn’t feel like it in the moment. While I made a lot of mistakes (as one does) throughout my experience in college, I am grateful for those terrifying, sacred and unforgettable four years of my life. And if I did have the chance to give myself a few pieces of advice, here is what I would say.
1. Leave your dorm room more often than not. Seriously. You spend way too much time watching Greys Anatomy in your bed and it’s not doing you any favors.
2. Don’t let other people influence you to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing. Even if it seems less cool, or less fun, you have to stay true to yourself and not follow others aimlessly.
3. Eat less ramen and spicy hot Cheetos. The freshman fifteen was and is real.
4. If you feel sad and not like your usual self, please seek counseling. Don’t feel ashamed about taking care of yourself and doing what is best for you. (And don’t let anyone make fun of you for that).
5. Go easy on yourself. You are going through a lot and life is changing at a rapid rate. This is the first time you are independent from your parents and don’t have the comfort of being with your friends from back home. It’s completely normal to be terrified some (most) of the time.
6. Go out and meet new people. There are thousands of students on your campus, and I can guarantee you, you will get along with someone. In fact, you may end up meeting some of your best friends during these four years.
7. Take advantage of opportunities your University has to offer. Whether it be a sport, a club or an event, start making connections and networking. You future self will be grateful.
8. Enjoy yourself. You spend way too much time worrying about what others think, worrying about your grades and your future. Take some time every day and do something you love. College will end faster than you think, so make it count.
9. Try to stop obsessing about your love life. Surround yourself with good people and good friends. Your love life will work itself out on its own.
10. Please go easy on the alcohol. Hangovers feel like death.
11. Lastly, even if moments can feel like the end of the world, remember that they aren’t. Life moves on and so will you. The end of something is always going to be the beginning of something new and something better. You’re going to be just fine, I promise.