Dear Freshman Me,

Dear Freshman Me,

It’s been about a week since you started school, sat in your first college classrooms, burrowed yourself as deep as you could into those twin sized dorm beds, and gotten lost at least once a day trying to find your way through the sea of other students. You’re not as nervous or anxious as you thought you would be though, your roommate is one of your best friends, the professors are straightforward, and the dorm cafeteria food really isn’t that bad at all.

I know when your parents left things finally took a toll on your heart, the realization that you were hours away and stepping into the first chapter of a new life without them independently on your own finally became a reality. You’re not going to miss them as much as you thought you were however either, not yet. Don’t feel guilty, your excitement right now is triumphant against your nerves, but every year afterward your longing for them is going to grow significantly. You’re going to forget to call them throughout your freshman year, but by the end of college, you’ll find yourself calling your mother at least once a day. I think the more time spent apart, the growth your mind and heart is going to go through, will help you understand your parents a lot better.

I just wanted to tell you a couple of things you’re going to go through freshman year that are equally as exciting as they are terrifying. You might already be experiencing one of them, which is uncertainty. Uncertainty in almost everything you’re wanting to do, not to do, and unsure of what to do. You’re going to really have to step out of your comfort zone this year, be more extroverted than you ever have in your entire life, and be confident in yourself to know that things are happening to mold you into the person you are meant to become.

You might hate it at first, actually, I know you’re going to hate it. You’re not going to have a lot of privacy this year, not when you’re sharing a 12×12 space with another person. This will be the year however that you begin to learn how to balance socializing and time alone, fairly in a way that is appropriate for your sanity and well-being. You will no longer dread meeting new people in a few months either, because it will become almost normal. People that knew you in middle school and high school may not even recognize you with the more significant presence you’re starting to bring with you as you enter the room.

You’re going to meet some of the greatest people you’ve ever had the privilege of knowing during your freshman year. Those girls you’re getting to know now will remain by your side even now when you’re living out of state, thousands of miles away. One of these girls in particular remains today one of your truest most dependable friends you’ve ever had, and you’ll have her to thank for leading your heart to seek a relationship with Christ for the first time in your life too. She’s the only person unafraid to criticize and love you simultaneously for the person you are, she will become an essential part of your life.

Right now, the uncertainty you’re feeling is about what you’re even doing in college in the first place. You hate school, well, not really, you’ve just never really been too good at it. You’ve always done just enough to get average grades, pass, and keep going. You’ve had this ideology in your head that you’re not gifted in academics, not as good as that person next to you, someone somewhere is always going to be just a bit better so why not let them take care of it. That applies to your art too, and I wish you wouldn’t have let that go this year, because when you find it the year after to save you from heartbreak the smell of those paints will still sting and remind you solely of that time grieving time period. It’s only been recently that you’ve been able to draw and paint again without a hindrance of any past remorse. However, towards the end of your college experience, you’ll remember what art and the process of creation really means to you.

Right now though, your studying Hospitality Management. How does that make sense? What were we thinking!? Where is your creative outlet here!? You’re the shyest person I know, kind and warm I’ve been told, but you’re not cut out for this intense person interacted industry. I’ll cut you some slack, it’s your first semester, you had to put something down. Your father was most successful and happiest working in the hotel industry, your current boyfriend has taken you to some great golf resorts you wouldn’t mind helping manage, and when all else fails Disneyworld wouldn’t be the end of the world. Your doubts about this career however are not wrong, but what exactly are you going to do? You suck at math, you don’t want to make art a career, and your childhood dream of becoming a vet is not an option in your university.

But please don’t worry, you’re going to meet a professor who is going to ignite that fire and passion you’ll one day realize has always been burning inside you that just needed that gust of wind in the right direction, soon. You’re in a class right now for your humanities credit titled Environmental Issues, it’s a philosophy class, you’ve always cared about the environment but because of your lack of math skills you didn’t think pursuing a science one was likely; you’re not wrong. In this class however, you’re going to be given a complement that will resonate with you until this very day. In this course, you will only have two grades formatted as essays based on readings and philosophies discussed in class. Your going to sigh quite frequently in class because there will be people who aren’t quite grasping the concepts like you know the professor wants you to, but don’t worry, he’s going to notice that you did.

At the end of your first college semester, you will not have this uncertainty with trying to find what you should do with your life. This professor is going to send you an email, complementing your thoughts and mind conveyed through your writing and hoping you’re doing something with it for a living. That’s when you’re going to recognize you’ve been told this your entire life. Those stories you wrote throughout high school, all those journals, English high school essays, notes to friends and loved ones, were at some point or another really appreciated and enjoyable to others.

This is only the beginning of discovering where your writing might take you, it will do more than just give you a path to a future career. Writing will save you, comfort you, comfort others, other’s words will guide you to make sense of the world around you and inspire you. I’m glad it found you when it did, and I’m glad you went to this university with an accredited and wonderful Journalism school. Later on, you’ll start to find out exactly what you want your writing to do, working with children will ignite an entirely different devotion that will allow you to combine both passions into one.

This year, is going to fly by. Every year from now on is going to become a memory before you know it. I want you to really treasure those late nights with your new girlfriends, enjoy those small stresses you think are the end of the world now but are nothing in comparison to the adult woes you are facing today, be patient with others and don’t forget to communicate how you’re really feeling because you’re never truly alone, remain true to yourself like you always have, never forget where you came from and all the trouble and efforts your parents went through to make sure you had opportunities they never had, remain an unhealthy escapist, and welcome the challenges you’re going to face this year and the three to come with open arms.

I’m not too worried for you, there’s a couple of moments I wish I could push you to try harder, or hug you to comfort you, but everything you’re going to go through is intended just for you. Those classes you can’t imagine passing, friends you discover aren’t true friends after all, the proximity of a family nearby because they’re all in a different country, feeling helpless when trying to help others, or even guilty for not wanting the company of others, all balance out with the self-discovery you’re going to go through during college.

You will come out more confident in who you are than ever before, with dreams to accomplish and goals to achieve. By the end of these four years, you’re going to wish you could go back and do it all over again, not to change anything but just to experience and to really enjoy the significance of it all. I’m excited for you, to close old doors appropriately and open new ones, new ones you didn’t even know could exist that all come naturally with time, but whether we step in or not is entirely up to us. I’m glad you went through the doors you did to end up where you are now, with the friends you call friends now, with the opportunities you’re taking today and with the dreams you’re seeking for now. Everything you’re down now may not seem like much, but every little thing your thinking is all shaping your mind and heart into the person you’re going to love being and living the life you’re living today.

Good luck, freshman year me, just wanted to let you know you did it, and I’m proud and thankful for you.

Dafne Rojas

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