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A Letter to My College Freshman Self

Tips about school, love, and life from someone who has experienced it all.
IMAGE Emma Watson | emmawatson.com

Dear Freshman Self,

How are you? I bet you're having a great time. A few days out after graduation, and you've already taken the plunge and drastically changed your hair color. It feels liberating, doesn't it? To be free from the rules and structures of high school that you've always known. Although you'll miss your high school friends, you can't wait to make new ones as your freshman year of college is just right around the corner. So Future You has taken it upon herself to give you some words of advice before you jump into the uncertain and exciting world that is college.

Don't worry too much. The things you think are a big deal don't actually matter that much, like worrying about repeating your outfits. It's totally fine to care about how you look, especially since you have to adjust from wearing a school uniform for 10+ years, but don't spend too long every morning fixing and dressing yourself up, otherwise you'll be late for class and have to do the tardy walk of shame.

Know that no one actually cares, so don't be overly-conscious of yourself—the way you dress, the way you walk when other people are around, and even the way you talk.

Everyone is in the same boat as you are. I know you're at a point where you want to turn into a new and improved version of yourself, but do yourself a favor and be the most authentic and comfortable version of yourself. Because in the end, everything will fall into its rightful place.

If you are your most authentic self, the people who are meant to be in your life will make their way into it. Don't put on airs just to appeal to people who might not appreciate you for who you really are. Focus on building relationships that'll last you your college years. These first friends will be your lunch mates, your group mates, your college party buddies, and even your thesis buddies. The people who see you for who you really are will be your lasting support system, and they're all you'll ever need, really. But not all will be a bed of roses. You will make lots of new friends, but be prepared to lose some. People who you thought were your closest friends since high school can turn into completely different persons once they get to college. People who you thought you were in good terms with can suddenly turn their backs on you and pretend there was no history between you. Be the better person and let them be. It's not worth putting up a struggle over people who don't want to be a part of your life. Oh, remember how you promised to regularly keep in touch with your high school friends? Yeah, you've got to work on that.

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You will meet lots of interesting, talented, and beautiful people along the way who will challenge your current belief systems and make you feel inadequate and unconfident. In high school, you were practically the bomb. But college has a way of making you realize how average you really are in the greater scheme of things. Don't let this bring you down though, but use it as motivation to aim higher and strive harder. Be active in whatever organization you decide to go for. Go volunteer for charity organizations.  Go rack up work experiences and bag an internship in your dream company. Go start your own blog! There are loads of places you can excel in—you just have to take the initiative to look for them. After all, you didn't get into the same college as these talented and accomplished people for nothing.

Let your experiences both break and make you.

Speaking of breaking you, stress will be something you'll encounter and face over and over and over again. It's true, what people say. Getting into the college of your dreams is the easy part, it is staying that is the true test. As important as grades are, don't prioritize your grades over your well-being. Take much-needed breaks, go out with friends, and take up another hobby. Don't waste most of your weekends in front of your laptop making papers and stressing over unresponsive groupmates or terror professors.  Grades can be improved, but learn to put yourself first. Get some sleep. You're at that age where sleeping at 1 or 2 am is the cool thing to do. Do yourself a favor and make it a habit to sleep at 10 or 11 pm, please. You're going to regret those days you slept late even if you had nothing to cram for the next day. You might not know how important getting enough rest is right now, but future you regrets sleeping late constantly, so I thought I ought to let you know. Make sure to strike a balance between academics, extracurricular activities, family, friends, and self. Easier said than done, but you'll manage. 

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And lastly, don't overthink things too much. This goes the same way for long tests, professors, friendships, cryptic one word replies, and of course, boys.

I know that one of your expectations in college is to get into a relationship, but I'm sorry to burst your bubble and tell you that you'll be single. You will meet lots of different boys—boys who say they're "not like other boys" but totally are, boys who you thought have probably matured in college but didn't (and never did), some cute down-to-earth boys who are totally your type but don't like you (or are taken), and some really nice boys who you're just not in to. Sad to say, none of those boys that you've met is The One. But do yourself a favor, and don't obsess over getting into a relationship. Don't get sad and beat yourself up thinking something's wrong with you because all your friends are getting boyfriends, or that all your family members are wondering when you'll ever get one. College is the best place to try things out, but it's not a very good place to look for a boyfriend, especially since everyone is still trying to find themselves. Use this time to discover yourselfthings you love, things you're good at, things you enjoy doing. Get to know yourself fully before attempting to know someone else. In the meantime, you'll have your K-dramas and Netflix shows to keep you company during the weekends.

 

So just enjoy the journey. It's the start of a lot of good things to come. Stay positive,  stay focused, #staystrength, and stay yourself.

Lots of love,
Your Future Self

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