This article is adapted from Bianca’s blog, “Made for More, Made for Love.”
Dear Incoming College Freshmen,
I remember being in your shoes three years ago, and it though feels like ages ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. ...Freshman year had a lot of ups and downs, but nonetheless I grew in many areas of my life and learned a lot. I thought I could pass on some knowledge I gained my freshman year of college to make this milestone in your life a little bit less scary.
One of the biggest takeaways I got out of freshman year may seem cheesy, but be yourself and never change for anyone. There is this extreme pressure on you to make friends fast. You don’t want to eat meals alone or seem like a loser with no friends, so you start your search for your lifelong companions, and they are there, I promise! However, it takes time to find “your people,” and that’s okay.
You may feel this pressure to be friends with the people living in your dorm, and I would definitely suggest trying to get to know those people. You will be living with them for a whole year! However, don’t feel forced to be best friends with them. Sometimes your personalities don’t match, and that’s totally fine. Don’t try and change who you are so you can be the person that would be friends with those people.
…Friends can be made in so many different ways in college. Talk to a lot of people and get to know them, but you don’t need to be best friends with all of them. Talk to people in your classes. It will be nice to have familiar faces in class, and when those big tests come along, it’s helpful to have some study buddies.
Join clubs that you are interested in—not clubs you think will make you look cool, but clubs that stand for something that you are passionate about, whether that’s your faith, public health, or baking. You will meet people who share similar interests with you, which is a great stepping stone to starting a friendship. Put yourself out there, and you will find your people.
…Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. It seems like everyone has their life together, but I promise you they don’t. Don’t feel like you have to pretend like life is going great when it’s not. I’m going to be honest, freshman year is very difficult. …Freshman year brings a lot of mixed feelings which are all valid feelings to have. It is a huge change in your life. Open up to your parents, your RA, your new college friends, or your high school friends, whoever you feel most comfortable with. You’ll be surprised to know that you’re not alone. I remember coming back from a very difficult Chemistry Lab in October of my freshman year, and I ended up crying to my friends right after. I immediately thought that they wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore now that I’d cried to them, but it ended up being a great bonding session, and we all admitted how we were really doing. This has led to many more crying sessions from all of us, and it has only brought us closer.
…You don’t have to be in a relationship to have a fruitful college experience. I always thought that I would meet “the one” my freshman year of college and then get married after graduation. Well, I can tell you that I am still as single as I was when I entered college, and my BC experience has still been so rich and fulfilling. I have made some great friends that I know will last a lifetime, and I have created so many memories that I will cherish forever. My college experience has not been any less amazing because of my singleness. This is not to say that entering into a healthy relationship is a bad thing. But don’t feel forced to date because you feel like you’re supposed to, and don’t think that anything is wrong with you if you’re not in a relationship—because there isn’t.
…Always remember that college is a different experience for everyone, so just live your life and take it all in. Soon enough you’ll be a senior, wondering how it is possible that you’re graduating this year, and you’ll try to cope by writing a letter to incoming freshmen.
Featured Image Courtesy of Petar Milošević via Wikimedia Commons