Dear Incoming Freshman, This Is What College Will Mean To You

Jazmin Quaynor

College. ‘The time of your life.’ That’s what they always tell you. They all do.

They tell you about the pure and unhindered eagerness to be independent, and how it feels to finally be unchained from the childhood that kept you sheltered from the wild nights and unlikely friendships. They tell you about the people you meet, the places you go. The intriguing, the impressive. The ecstatic, the preposterous. Yet, there are many things they, perhaps, forget to reveal.

Like the many nights you might cry yourself to sleep, silently of course, because you no longer share a room with only your shadow. The seemingly unfeasible and unsightly bags under your eyes. The, not only physical, but mental exhaustion that haunts you incessantly during the day and watches over you at night, waiting. Waiting to consume you the minute the alarm lets out its roar.

They forget to mention the everlasting and excruciating fear of failure, the days where you not only feel drained, but lost. Feeling the pressure to be everywhere at once, to make a thousand friends, to succeed inside and out of the classroom, to make money, to be well rested, to have a perfect body, to have the perfect life. They don’t tell you all this.

But that doesn’t make them wrong.

Because you see, when the time comes, you will soon come to realize why the bad has been universally forgotten: In college, I promise… you will find yourself. You will no longer feel the dying need to be omnipresent, to be popular, to be invincible.

You will peacefully abandon the effort to be liked by everyone; and give up trying to please the irrelevant—just to see slight nods of approval. You will accept the fact that not every friday night will be life-changing, and you will learn to like this.

The calm is just as important as the rage. You will not feel ashamed of the ordinary, the boring, the much needed time to yourself. You will look in the mirror at your tired eyes and be thankful for your restless nights—the nights where your passion and goals overshadowed the desire to sleep. In the midst of constant stress and busyness, you will have more fun than you ever thought possible.

You will discover parts of yourself that surprise you. You will connect with improbable, do the impractical…hell, you might even fall in love. You will spend a Saturday night with a strong buzz, dancing in the lights, and you will feel utterly and unshakably free.

Hopefully you will soon begin to realize that. That they were right all along. All of them.

I only hope you see this before the time passes. I hope you see that the best is indeed, now—amidst the sadness, amidst the chaos, amidst both the thrilling and the dull. I urge you to find something beautiful in the turmoil, to find something soothing in the ache. I urge you to not only appreciate the greatest times, but also the worst—for from these moments, you will grow, you will learn….and soon you will welcome hardship with open arms.

Because you know now, whatever destiny decides to throw your way, you will not cower in fear. Instead, you will fight.

And when the All-Powerful decides to act in your favor, you will acknowledge this gift. and savor the goodness like it is the last thing to ever touch your lips. I can only hope that, while you are here, you make the damn best of it. Because, before you know it, your time is up. And all you’ll have left are the memories, memories that will soon become stories. And I hope that, when you tell your story, you will tell it with pride. I hope it will make you smile from ear to ear; I hope it will make you light up—a glow that not a single listener will overlook.

Above all, I hope that you will go as far as to tell them that it was the ‘time of your life’. But don’t worry about that too much. I think that you will. After all, they all do. TC mark

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Cincinnati raised. A student, a lover, a sister, a friend. Read more articles from Piper on Thought Catalog.