Note to First-Year Self
RELAX. Take it easy… and trust the process.
You’re as prepared as you need to be for this next phase in your life. Don’t worry. You will make those lasting friendships, you will choose the right organizations to get involved in, and your successful future is already secure as long as you can commit to working diligently.
1. Cut yourself some slack.
Don’t feel like you need to be overly involved right out the gate. Take some time. Get to know who you are and constantly check-in to see if you’re becoming the person you want to be.
2. Enjoy the ride.
Don’t write off the cliché phrases you often hear. Wise words like, “It’s not about the destination, it’s the journey” are actually more than words that people say to make conversation. It’s important not to allow yourself to just get fixated on the end goal because before you know it, college will almost be over, and you’ll want to relive some of those same moments that you took for granted.
3. Be picky about involvements.
Seek them out, but don’t just jump for EVERY opportunity that comes your way. Take a step back, and see where those opportunities align with your goals because sometimes that opportunity might take time away from things that are more important and truly deserve your time… like studying, exercising, and SLEEP. As Dean Ward would say, “engagement over involvement.”
4. Be open to new things.
Be patient, and keep an open mind. Everyone did not grow up in the same environment or with the same life experiences that you have. Be patient with them as you try to explain your ideas and ideals, and be patient with yourself as you try to understand theirs as well. Remember, it’s a process. Take advantage of the safety net of college to explore new thought, new experiences, and life outside of your comfort zone.
5. Use your resources.
You are not in this alone, and as you look around, remind yourself that you are neither the first or only person to go through college. If you need help, reach out to family, campus tutoring, and the health and peer resources that being a college student affords you. It’s easy to forget, but you’ll be surprised at how simple communication of an issue can lead to solutions flying in from every direction.
6. YOU’RE STILL GROWING.
This whole college experience is a learning process, and with learning comes a few failed attempts. Don’t become complacent, but DO NOT fear failure. Whether it’s in academics, relationships, or simple life decisions, some of your biggest realizations and successes will come to you as a result of shortcomings, but make sure you get back up, change your approach, and keep moving forward.
You’re on track to becoming your best self, so stop overthinking your next move. Take it one step at a time, and be ready to be amazed at how it all turns out.
The Person You’re Becoming