I first would like to say, in case no one else has told you or even if they have, that I am so proud of you. And you should be proud to! Going to college, especially when no one you know has gone before you, is a really scary thing but also a really great thing. So you should be really proud of yourself even if everyone is kind of downplaying it. This is a really big deal and I just hope you know that. I also want you to go ahead and forget everything you think you know about college because the college experience is different for everyone. Even as you go through these next few years things are going to change and you are going to change.
College is going to be the time where you get a fresh start. It’s a time for you to start choosing who you want to be and what direction you want to head in life. It’s okay if you don’t have a plan just yet because your plans are going to change anyway, even if only slightly. College is going to offer so many possibilities and opportunities, some really good and some really bad, that are going to change your life. Just remember, you don’t have to say yes to everything, but say yes to the things that feel right for you. And if something doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to walk away, no matter what it is.
You are going to learn things in college, both inside the classroom and outside the classroom. And I dare to say the lessons you learn outside of the classroom may be some of your most valuable. You are going to make mistakes in college. You are going to find yourself in situations that you will think better of down the road. But college is a learning experience and your life is about to change no matter what. So don’t be afraid of making those mistakes. Don’t be afraid to take chances because that’s the only way you learn and grow.
Your plans will change. As you go through this crazy college experience, take new classes, take on new challenges, and meet new friends, what you think you want right now is going to change. Even if it’s only slightly, as you grow your plans will grow. As you start to see everything you are capable of and all the things you love, what you want out of life will start to evolve. That’s a normal part of the college experience. You may change your major. You may pick up a minor. You may get really involved with a club on campus that make you rethink everything. You may find a new support system. You may even find a job that is able to teach you new skills. Regardless, the plan you have going in is going to be different than the one you will have coming out and if it’s not, you may not have learned as much as you thought you would.
You will make friends. When I started college I was really scared and I was worried I wouldn’t make any friends. I was worried that no one would want to talk to me or spend any time with me. I wasn’t the most popular person in high school and I worried college would be a similar experience. But I am here to assure you that I made friends and I promise you will too. And it’s okay if you are never the life of the party or the most popular person in the room. It’s better that way. Keep your circle small and your friend group really tight.
College is going to be hard, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. There is always someone there for you and willing to help. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it had not literally been for the friends and mentors I found in college. Everything changed for me and I know it will change for you as well. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to have questions. Just make sure you ask the questions and really try to get the answers you need. Don’t be afraid to not know what’s going on because most of the time very few people do. So just try to enjoy these next few years as much as you can and stay true to yourself. Do what feels right to you and I promise you will look back with no regrets.
Your life is about to change in all the best ways and I hope you are excited more than anything. College was such a great experience for me and my hope is that yours is just as amazing, if not better. Don’t be afraid to reach out with questions. Make sure you open your heart to every person, opportunity, and challenge that you feel ready to open up to. Don’t stay where your comfortable just because you’re scared because if you do you might just miss out on something really amazing. Stay open and stay authentic, trust your gut, and watch the magic happen! Good luck!