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December Dear Freshman

By: Steele Parkerson

December Dear Freshman,

Today is the day. You’re crammed into the backseat of your parent’s car along with all the bags you spent hours packing and exhaustion you feel from lying awake at night, wondering about your classes and making new friends. You keep thinking, “do I need to go to the bathroom?” No, you’re just knee-bouncing nervous with a side of excitement. As you should be! Your parent’s car stops in front of the first year hall/house/dorm etc. that you’ve Googled too many times to count. We are talking about college. And, you're in luck. As someone who was able to be a first-year university student before the pandemic and during the transition to online university, I can give you the single best piece of advice that I was given my first year of college.

GO FOR IT: Wear the Shower Shoes

I thought about listing many pieces of advice because “the more, the better,” but then I realized, the more pieces of advice I give you, the less likely you are to remember and actually apply them to your college experience. So, I’m going to keep it simple and give you the one piece of advice that you MUST follow. Otherwise, you’ll sell yourself short in the long run.

Being a college freshman in 2020 is not the traditional experience in any way. You couldn’t pack the minivan so full of stuff, your younger siblings barely had room to breath, and you definitely aren’t walking around your bedroom wearing your shower shoes. So, does the advice still apply? 100%. The difference now is that your “shower shoes” are more like blue-light glasses. You should still go for it! Put your glasses on and really stare at your computer screen. Stare until you finally decide to join that singing club, because why not? Worst comes to worst, 3 other people heard you try to sing like John Legend over Zoom and you ended up sounding like a squeaky pipe. Believe it or not, Zoom makes going to office hours so much easier now that you don’t have to walk 20 minutes across campus -- and you should be going to office hours, really. Also, you’re a borderline adult. It’s time to hit send on that email you wrote to your professor about not understanding the last lecture. For me, I found that I was so nervous about my grammar or saying something wrong in emails to professors that I would rather not say anything at all. But, after my first year in college, I've officially mastered the quick email response simply by practice.

In my experience, I was really nervous to start college. I kept worrying, “what if I’m not smart enough or I have trouble making friends?” All these what-ifs rolled around in my head for the two months before I went to college. Looking back, when I finally stood in my 9x9 dorm, door filled to the brim with things I for sure didn’t need, I faced the reality that my college years could truly be whatever I made of them. Should I run for student government? Should I join as many clubs as I can to make friends? But, what about balancing my classes as well? The advice here is to GO FOR IT. Take the chance. Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from trying something new. The shower shoes/blue light glasses might feel awkward and silly, but the experience is worth it in the end.

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