Dear Freshman Me
Dear Freshman Me,
Life has become so crazy, but it’s only beginning. You have not yet reached the peak of your rollercoaster. It’s been three years since I’ve been where you are now, but I just want to tell you: your rollercoaster ride is about to drop with new twists and turns that you won’t see coming.
You have just graduated high school and now you’re about to gain an infinitely higher amount of independence by starting college to study nursing. Now is the time to realize that the sky is the limit and the world is your oyster. Freshman year is all about beginning your journey as a young adult, AKA ‘adulting.’ The realization of adulting will dawn on you, but keep in mind that it dawns upon each of us at different times and it most likely won’t be an immediate realization. When it does happen, I encourage to you to remember your independence. Don’t become too dependent on others for help. Try things on your own first, with your family and friends as a support system when you fail. Just like a roller coaster there are slow climbs to unknown heights, fast drops to lower points, and crazy twists and turns along the way. But no matter what, your unique roller coaster is held up by a strong support system that won’t let you fall.
I urge you to challenge yourself. Push the boundaries of your comfort zone by trying something new. This could be through joining a sport, earning a 4.0 one semester, or exploring your college town and D.C. surroundings. You only have four years of college to make some of the best memories of your life, so make the most of the time you are given. The next four years are designed to allow you to evolve into the person you are meant to be. Your experiences and failures make you wiser. Remember that you must live in order to learn.
When you look back at your time in college, you’ll realize how much you’ve changed and how strong you’ve become. Just like a rose, you are delicate, beautiful, and bold. Your thorns are a form of defense, representing your thick skin and strong will. Not all seasons are pleasant for a rose. You will endure harsh winters and blistering summers, but you will continue to grow and share your beauty with the world.
Being in a city presents you with the opportunity to have numerous adventures. Go exploring every chance you get and experience what the city offers. There are free museums, tons of restaurants, beautiful neighborhoods, professional sports teams, and much more. Don’t take things for granted. Learn to appreciate every moment because tons of people would love to be put in your shoes and be able to see and do what you can do. As you progress into your college career, time becomes scarce. Projects pick up and classes become more demanding, so take advantage of the time you have during your freshman year. Don’t push things back saying, “I’ll do this next time.” You don’t know what next year will hold for you. Don’t fall into the ‘mob mentality.’ If you want to do something and most of your friends don’t, find that one person who does or do it one your own. Letting others keep you away from experiencing what you want to experience is what will lead to regrets and feeling as though you took D.C. for granted.
Regarding time: make sure to leave ample time for studying. Don’t blow off your core classes. Core classes are most likely easy A’s and GPA boosters but pay attention because many of your future classes will be based on them. Absorb every detail you can, trust me it will haunt you later in your junior and senior years during clinicals and while studying for the HESIs. There is a difference between memorizing and understanding class material. Truly understanding the material, is what will help you down the line. A good check to determine whether you areare understanding the material or just memorizing it is to to explain the content to another person. Search for your interest in the material you are learning. Doing what you love should not feel like a chore.
As for friends, you’ll gain some precious friendships, but you’ll also lose some. Don’t get too riled up, but learn from those relationships. Some lost friendships will hurt, but you’ve never truly lost a friend until you’ve “burned the bridge.” The people who cross your path may continue in different directions but you may cross paths again in the future. The least you can do is be kind to the people you meet and appreciate all the ways those people have impacted your life. Remember, you have friends you haven’t met yet. Some doors close so that others can open. Cherish friends, new and old, and the memories you have together and what you have taught one another.
College is hard! Don’t let ‘hard’ discourage you. College is a challenge and life is a never-ending challenge. You must persevere through hard times because sunshine is waiting for you on the other side. You will cry, feel burnt out, and feel entirely and completely useless or, for a lack of a better word: stupid. YOU ARE WRONG.
I am the proof that you will survive! Throughout your college journey, you’ll learn that your family, friends, and some professors are amazing. They care about your success and are willing to make time to help you when you need. Do not give up on your studies and do not give up on yourself. Someone told us that college is sacrificing four years of hard work and dedication for a lifetime of fulfilling what you love to do. There will be times when you want to give up and ask yourself “Why do I even try?” Just remember that it’s all about grit and how willing you are to hang onto your ambitions to make them a reality. What are the lengths you are willing to go to reach those ambitions? With all the power and knowledge that you have, how are you going to keep the flame alive throughout all the challenges placed in your way? Believe in yourself because you are your own worst enemy.
Freshman year of college is a bit of a shock. Your independence comes with lots of freedom and fun, but remember that it also comes with responsibility. You are responsible for keeping up your grades, for keeping yourself safe, and for keeping yourself happy. Explore new places and explore yourself. Find your voice by pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone; you’ll be surprised by what you discover.
Lastly, say yes to things that scare you a little, things that will challenge you, and to opportunities that present themselves. Let the good times roll, believe in yourself, and live your life to the fullest!