A Note to the College Freshman


Dear College Freshman,

As I’m sure it has already been impressed upon you, you are about to embark on an incredible life change. Everything is your world is likely going to shift 180 degrees, as you move away from your home, your family, your friends, and the structure of school that you knew before.

Some of you will take to this newfound freedom like a fish in water, overflowing with self-motivation and thriving in this newly autonomous and freeform environment. And regrettably, some of you will flounder a bit. But I am here to tell you that that struggle is okay! It’s more than okay! As my friends used to say when things got particularly tough in class, it’s time to hop on the struggle bus! Whether it’s acute homesickness, difficulties forming a friend group, or just feelings of being overwhelmed, THEY ARE ALL VALID COLLEGE EXPERIENCES.

College is often sold as a young person’s paradise, where all of your wildest fantasies will come to fruition, but it’s also really okay to have a hard time adjusting because transitions of this magnitude are just inherently stressful. And truly feeling this stress can sometimes make you feel like the odd man out because everyone is always spouting, and practically shouting, “It’s the best four years of your life!”

This phrase personally drives me crazy, and for the record, I would like to amend it. I would like to make an important adjustment and say that college has the incredible potential to be the best four years of your life. But there is no guarantee, because the greatest experiences of colleges won’t just fall into your lap; they will require putting yourself out there! So even though it can be totally terrifying, I would encourage you to embrace the parts that give you the most struggle, because that’s where the magic can happen! Stay after class to talk to your professors (even the intimidating ones), and let them get to know you. Speak up and talk to that cute boy or girl in your chemistry lab that you’ve been eyeing for a minute. Join every possible club that interests you, and by the end of the year you’ll probably have found one or two that you can really vibe with and stick with! You don’t have to put yourself out there every minute of every day, but try at least once a week to try something that stretches you a bit.

Obviously, lecture and lab will teach you [most] everything you need to know to pass a test and to eventually begin work in your field of choice, but college also teaches you the valuable lesson of leaning into the hard stuff, the scary stuff, and the stuff that makes you uncomfortable. It’s all a part of this crazy journey that our youth has thrust upon us!

So take risks (within reason) and embrace everything (the good and the bad) that this unique experience has to offer! This adventurous season of life won’t ever come again!

Best of luck!

Written by Helena Lorenz