This past week I have been reflecting a lot on being a freshman student. With Orientation in full swing, campus is in a flurry with all new Hoosiers. I won’t lie, this makes me extremely jealous. Freshman year is such an exciting time—so many new things to experience. Unfortunately, all these new experiences don’t come with a how-to manual. Although I truly believe some things you have to learn the hard way, some I wish I would have just learned off the bat. If I could write a letter to my freshman self, explain a few things about college, it would probably go something like this:
College isn’t what you think it is. And trust me, it is definitely NOT what your high school peers think it is. Right now, whenever you flip on the radio, you probably hear that popular song “I Love College.” (Spoiler Alert: that song is about to be way over played; please don’t put it on your Ipod.) Just as the song proclaims, you will one day, absolutely, love college—but the reasons you will love it will not be the same reasons glorified in that song. You won’t truly realize how amazing college is until you start being yourself, and stop thinking you have to fit a pre-determined college stereotype. College is an individual experience— there is not one ‘right’ way to be a Hoosier. You don’t have to go to every party you’re invited to (and you definitely shouldn’t), be best friends with the girls on your floor, or follow the same timeline as your peers.
You don’t have to know all of the answers about what you want to do with the rest of your life. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you are uncertain, but I promise you that everything ends up unfolding in its’ own time. You don’t need to always be thinking big picture, rest of your life kind of stuff. However, you shouldn’t always be living moment to moment. In a few years there will be a popular saying that you will grow to hate—YOLO (You Only Live Once). In college, finding the balance between freaking out about the rest of your life and embodying ‘YOLO’ can be difficult. For you, the pendulum will swing a few times to both extremes. Find the balance by focusing on your next life step. By doing this, you’ll be able to gain some clarity towards the bigger picture.
Don’t be afraid to explore; right now there are too many opportunities out there not to be a free agent. Apply for that job you’ve always wanted (being a barista is definitely everything you thought it was going to be), take a class that is out of your comfort zone, and invest more time in your friendships. It’s the experiences and chances you never thought you would take that make you love college.
Until next time,