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Dear Freshman - October

Dear Freshman,

You did it! Congratulations! All your hard work and dedication paid off, and you are getting ready to embark on a whole new chapter of your life. So exciting! While I am confident you will make so many important memories, grow academically and professionally, and have so much fun, there may be times that you struggle. Times when you are unsure of yourself or what to do next.

For example, the first couple of weeks may seem overwhelming as you start to find your feet, pick your classes, look through lists of extracurricular activities you could join, and make friends. Some classes may seem daunting, and you may suddenly find that classes you used to ace in high school are a lot harder now. You may even start to doubt yourself as others may fit in quicker than you do. STAY STRONG! You made it through elementary school, high school, and now you are at college. YOU DID THAT! You have the brains, heart, and passion to get through any tough situation that you might find yourself in. Do not give into “imposter syndrome.” Imposter syndrome is when you doubt yourself and start to feel like you may not belong [at college]. But, you do! And while you start to find your feet, remember your support system, your friends in high school, your family and, of course, your ACLP mentors and classmates! You have a bank of resources that you can access at any time that can help you when you need encouragement, advice, or even support.

Take it one day at a time, and please ask for help when you need it. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. I can promise you that people will be willing to help, and if they do not know the answer, they can direct you to someone that will be able to help. Trust me, your future self would be glad you asked for help. Who can you ask for help? You can ask your classmates, your teaching assistants, dormmates, or anyone on campus. My very first day on campus, I was confused about what classes to take and how to get to them. I asked a random person who had walked past me for advice. I explained that I was a freshman who needed some help. He sat down with me for about 20 minutes, talked about his experiences, advised me on which classes to take, and pointed me in the right direction.

I am so grateful I asked for help. He helped me so that one day I could help you.

I am so proud of you! You did it! And you can do it! These next 4 years will go by so quickly, so make the most of it, make new friends, find resources, and make new memories!

Best wishes,

Similoluwa Ayinde

ACLP Chief of Staff

Similoluwa Ayinde is the Chief of Staff of the nonprofit African Community Learning Program and a Marketing and Organizational Management student at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. To support African Community Learning Program, email or visit

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