An Open Letter To Incoming Freshman Me

Dear 18 year-old Angel,

I know you’re probably overwhelmed thinking about what college life at Furman will be like, but hey! The hardest part of the admissions process is over. You’ve committed to Furman and have made things official on Instagram, so there’s really no going back now. Going to such a small high school, I know you’re scared of the transition to college life. You aren’t really sure what to expect and that’s okay. “Expect the unexpected” sounds so cliché, but really I couldn’t sum up the college experience any better than those three words. You will meet so many people as well as have so many different experiences and opportunities.

Let me start by telling you what you want to know the most: having a random roommate turns out to be great! I know it seems daunting to live with someone you don’t know on top of being new to college. Your roommate turns out to be one of your dearest friend who encourages you to be your best self. Below is you and your roommate before saying goodbye for the summer 🙁

 

Next, having a communal bathroom is not the end of the world. I know it may seem like it, but I promise you will never have to wait for the shower to be open AND you don’t have to worry about cleaning the bathroom! It’s actually a win-win situation.

Also, don’t worry about not knowing what you want to do with your life yet. I know it was a little intimidating when everyone said they knew what they wanted to major in during Orientation, but Furman is the best place to explore different interests. Take advantage of the General Education Requirements, or GERs, as a way to explore different departments! You’ll be surprised at what catches your interest and what you end up majoring in (hint: it’s psychology and sociology, I know you didn’t see that one coming).

I know you kept your head down in high school and were a little bit more of the shy side. I also know that that is not who you want to be. I’m here to tell you that college is the opportunity for a clean slate! I am not lying or exaggerating when I say that you can be whoever you want to be here! Change up your style, try a new hobby, dye your hair a new color, do whatever! More importantly, however, be open to taking leadership positions. I know you loved your tour of Furman and really admired the tour guide for how effortlessly she ran through the tour while being so personable. You never thought that could be you because speaking in front of groups of people seems intimidating, but I’m here to tell you that you did it! You’re an Admissions Ambassador at Furman and you are that very same personable tour guide for other families now.

Just like you won’t expect to find yourself in a position like Ambassadors, you won’t expect to find such great friends. The first couple of days adjusting to being on your own and not knowing anyone is scary. If it makes you feel better, all the other freshmen are on the very same boat. Take advantage of it! Don’t be scared to leave your dorm room door open or spark up a conversation with the person sitting next to you in class. You’ll be surprised at all the sweet friendships that blossom from a single interaction.

Lastly, know it is super important to put yourself first. College is a different ball game from high school. Classes are indeed harder, your high school teachers weren’t lying about that. There is just so much more to get involved in and do around campus, it’s important to know when to draw the line and take care of your mental health. Even when you’re drowning in school work, take a deep breath and go find a friend or go on a lake walk. As long as you are trying your best, that is all you can do! Have some grace for yourself!

Along with that, know it’s okay not to be okay! It’s okay to feel out of place at first or feel lonely. Those feelings are very temporary and will fade. It’s okay and important to sit with those uncomfortable feelings. It’s okay to miss your family. After all, distance makes the heart grow fonder (even if it is just a short 25 minute drive away)! Being at college will you realize how much you actually love when your little sisters come into your room to bother you or when your mom makes you your favorite dinner. When you go home for break, it’ll be so fulfilling and make you appreciate every little moment even more!

My last parting message would be to be confident in yourself. I know being 18 seems like you’re finally an adult and your childhood is over. To some extent, yes you are growing on and moving onto bigger things. However, there is still room to be silly and do fun things with friends and explore what life has to offer. Take it easy. Enjoy the small moments, because I promise you you don’t expect these four years to fly by, but here I am, 20 years old, almost half way done with junior year and I can tell you that it absolutely does fly by.

P.S. Looking at our #FurmanBound picture now makes me emotional! Where has the time gone?!

Best,

Angel:)

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