Dear Freshman Me
Dear Freshman Me,
Life has gotten 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, but I just wanted 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 moving into a college to pursue nursing. Now is the time to realize 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 upon 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, getting a 4.0 for a 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 meant for you to evolve into the person you are meant to be. Your experiences and failures make you wiser; after all, you have to live in order to learn. When you look back at it, 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 sport 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 or do what you can. As you progress into your college career time becomes scarce. Projects pick up and classes become more demanding, so use the time you’re presented 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. Also, don’t fall in with ‘mob mentality.’ If you want to do something and most of your friends don’t, find that one person who does. Letting others keep you away from experiencing what you want to experience, is what will lead you to having regrets and feeling as though you took D.C. for granted.
Regarding time, make sure to leave an ample amount of it for studying. Don’t blow your core classes off. These core classes are most likely easy A’s and GPA boosters, and they are also what a lot of your future classes will be based off. Absorb every detail you can, trust me it will haunt you later in junior and senior year during clinicals and while studying for HESIs. There is a difference between memorizing and understanding class material. Truly understanding the material, is what will help you later down the line. A good check to see if you are understanding or just memorizing, is to try to explain what you have learned to another person. If you can successfully do that, you should be fine. 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 that cross your path may continue in different directions but you may cross paths again in the future. The most 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 come to a close, so others can open theirs. Cherish friends, new and old, and the memories you have together and what you have taught one another.
College is hard! These words will be said repeatedly by you and every person you meet. The word ‘hard’ should not discourage you. If college were easy everyone would do it. College is a challenge, and life is a never-ending challenge. You must persevere through hard times, as there is sunshine waiting for you on the other side. You will be crying, burnt out, and feeling entirely and completely useless or, for a lack of better words, feeling stupid. YOU. ARE. WRONG.
I am proof to you that you will survive! Throughout your college journey, you’ll learn how amazing your family, friends, and some professors are. They do care about your success and are willing to make time to help you when you need it. 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 where you want to give up and just ask yourself “Why do I even try,” but it’s all about grit. Grit meaning how badly are you willing to hang onto your ambitions to make them 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 that will head your way? Believe in yourself because only you are your own worst enemy.
Freshman year of college, is a bit of a shock. With your independence comes lots of fun, but remember that it also comes with responsibility. You are responsible for keeping your grades up, 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 what you discover.
Lastly, say yes to things that scare you a little, will challenge you, and to opportunities that present themselves. Let the good times roll, believe in yourself, and live your life to the fullest!