Dear Freshman Self

Dear Freshman Self

Used under creative commons license
Used under creative commons license

Katelyn Lamb, Content Editor 

College is like totes educational, dude. Ok, that was not the best delivery, but it’s true! Students, I hope, come to universities to learn, so it should be no surprise when this happens. If you navigate your four (or five…or six…) years as a collegian well, you will graduate with a lot more than a degree. Life in college has a funny way of teaching you in many areas beyond academia. People, time and circumstances have taught me a lot these past four years. With graduation just around the corner, though, I have been reflecting on a few lessons I wish I’d learned sooner that could have seriously altered my experience at SNU. If I could time travel and have a conversation with my freshman self, here are some things I’d let me in on:

  • You don’t have to be fine all the time. There will be days, weeks, semesters even when things will be hard. You will not always have it all together. Things will hurt and get broken. When that happens, quit feeling obligated to be okay.
  • Be careful in Sodexo. Seriously. I know it may sound like a good idea to venture away from your safe food options. But don’t. It’s never as good of an idea as it seems.
  • Don’t be mad if you don’t get a t-shirt. There will literally be 100 more over the next four years.
  • Skip more classes for worthwhile causes – attendance points are not more valuable than that late night adventure or spontaneous road trip.
  • You will change your mind about everything. Your major. Your summer plans. That boyfriend. That’s fine. Just stop pretending you have everything figured out and don’t take yourself so seriously.
  • When you learn something, don’t beat people over the head with it. Share what you’re passionate about, but don’t demand everyone around you to feel the same conviction, reach the same conclusion or have the exact same response as you do. Because that won’t happen.
  • Stress less. Things always get done. Give yourself the time required to do the work required but don’t freak out about it.
  • People will make or break your college experience. Embrace it. Get to know the people around you, not for your own gain or security, but to enjoy them as they are. Spend time with your professors outside of class – you can learn so much from them beyond their lectures.
  • You have to read if you want to learn anything. Sure, it is an unfortunate truth that you can get an A in a class without reading any text. But, come on. You’re paying to go to school. So go to school for real.
  • Find a mentor. SNU is really good at affirmation but encouragement is crippled without individual accountability. There are tons of great people who are capable and willing to pour into you. Seek them out.
  • Become intimately familiar with the voice of God. Learn how it sounds, cultivate the ability to listen and listen well. The words you receive from the Lord will be the most true, most transformative and most beautiful you’ll ever know.

All the good advice in the world will not make your time at SNU perfect. The overarching thing I’ve realized about college is that you have to take the initiative to shape your experience. Choose your attitude, take responsibility for your experience and enjoy every bit of it.


  1. The photo would have been even more effective if you had used a picture of yourself from your freshman year.