As someone who is about to start their last semester of college in a month, I’ve learned a lot over the past three years – especially about my freshman year self. Freshman year is an adjustment for everybody, however, for me, it was especially difficult. I was the lowest I have ever been in my life that year and there were times that I really thought I wasn’t going to make it out. But, here I am three years later doing fine. If you’re about to start your freshman year of college, I encourage you to read this and save it to re-read later when you might need it. Here are the things I would tell my freshman year self:
1. It’s normal to be homesick
Everyone who goes away to college experiences homesickness at one point or another, whether they want to admit it or not. It’s completely normal. Don’t feel bad about it.
2. It’s okay to not like your roommate
You might luck out and get an amazing roommate who you love and become best friends with, but chances are you probably won’t like your first roommate, and that’s okay. I couldn’t stand my roommate, but I made it through. You will too.
3. It’s okay to come home
If you’re homesick and are close enough to go home on a somewhat regular basis, it’s okay to go home. Even if you’re far away and can’t go home unless it’s the holidays, it’s okay to not totally love school and want to go home. Call your parents, talk to your high school friends, and be sure to bring little things that remind you of home. It’ll help.
4. This feeling won’t last forever
If your freshman year self is really struggling at school like I was, just know that you won’t feel this way forever. This too shall pass.
5. You’re going to be okay
I know it may not feel like it, but I promise you, you will make it out alive and you will be okay.
6. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it
Keeping everything to yourself and trying to just get through it may be doing more harm them good. You don’t even have to go to your school’s counseling center if you don’t want to. Call your parents or your friends and talk to them. Just talk to someone because it’ll help.
7. It’s okay to want to stay in instead of partying
Maybe you’re just not the party type or maybe you’re just not in the mood to go out – that’s okay. If you want to stay in, stay in. Don’t let your roommate or anyone make you feel bad about staying in when they’re all going out. You do what you want.
8. It’s okay to stop talking to a friend for a while if they’re not helping you
Don’t get me wrong, I love my best friend to death and don’t know what I would do without her, but when I was away and going through all of this, she just wasn’t the best person to talk to because she simply didn’t understand. I can’t fault her for that. Instead I just talked to her about different things and confided in my other friends when I needed to. It’s okay to do that.
9. It’s okay to decide to transfer
Plenty of people decide to transfer after their first year or even their first semester. You’ll know pretty quickly if the school you chose isn’t right for you. And if you do come to that conclusion, it’s okay. Simply look into other schools and transfer somewhere else when you can. Nothing is permanent.
10. No matter how much it feels like it, you’re not alone
Trust me, I know how alone you can feel when you’re going through a tough time. But believe me when I tell you, you’re not alone. You’re never alone.
11. You didn’t make the wrong choice, it’s just a valuable learning experience
If you do decide to transfer, it’s not that you made the wrong choice when picking a school, although I know it may feel that way. You chose that school for a reason, it’s either a blessing or a lesson and in my case it was a lesson.
12. You’re doing the best you can and that’s enough
It can be so easy to want to just lay in bed all day and ignore the world, and there were a few days where I did that (that’s okay, sometimes a mental health day is necessary). No matter how you are handling the situation you are in, you’re doing the best you can and that’s enough and all anyone can ask for.
13. How you feel is valid and okay
Know that it’s okay to feel however it is that you feel. It’s more than okay, it’s valid.
14. Don’t worry about what other people think, just do what’s best for you
Nobody knows what’s best for you besides you. Just do what’s best for you, know matter what that looks like, and don’t apologize or let anyone make you feel bad for it.
15. It may be stormy now, but it can’t rain forever
Above all else, just know that for as bad as your freshman year self may feel right now, things will always get better. I know it may not feel like it, but I promise you it’s the truth.