Advice From The Future: An Open Letter to my Freshman Self

Friday, October 28, 2016

Dear naïve college freshman version of me,

Yeah, its been four years. Can you believe it? The rest of your life starts right now – No pressure. You are probably feeling a little off base with this whole college concept. Half of you can’t wait to sink your feet into your first frat party while the other half of you is trying to figure out how you are supposed to finish your bio-chem homework before the sun comes up (don’t worry, you passed). 

Anyway, if I knew what I know now about school and life back when I was a freshman about to start college I might have gone about life in a different manner. Obviously, I can’t change anything if I wanted to because time machines have not been invented yet, sorry Ali Razeghi. Now that I have had some experience in the real world after graduation, I have picked up on some life skills I wish I had paid more attention to while in school.  There are so many simple things I could have done to set me up on a better track for success beyond college. Try to follow these as closely as possible. 

Sit in the front row – You want to be the teachers pet; it will pay off in your recommendations letter. Be sure to ask for those early on. You should have at least two by senior year. Print your syllabus and go to your professor’s office hours. Go beyond that, if your professor is the advisor for a club, attend a meeting or two. Ask how their day is going. Get involved.

FASFA is your friend, not your food – Make the most of your financial aid. Don’t wait until the last possible day to fill out these documents and do not spend your reimbursement check on food. Put it towards your next semester’s tuition or something a little more responsible, like brake pads. By the way, congrats on your scholarships. They might not mean much now but our overall dollar amount is not as painful to look at because of those. When you graduate you will be happier by taking the time to figure out the financial part of your education, and there are even companies nowadays that let you refinance student loans so your payment won't take over your life post college! 

Utilize your youth- Go out as often as possible because you never know who you are going to meet. Take every opportunity. This is the time to be gloriously bad at something.  Study abroad for at least one semester, or take an internship on different soil. The best memories are the ones you didn’t expect to happen. Oh and these are your prime years appearance wise. Take advantage of them. 

 Love yourself before you love someone else – Yeah, here comes the sappy crap. Fall in like with others but fall in love with yourself. It is okay to date a lot of people, but don’t be reckless with other peoples hearts. Really concentrate on what makes you happiest. Keep your old love letters and remember the compliments you receive. Love will find you when you least expect it.

Money should not be your motivation - By any means, do not pick a major because you’ve heard they make bank.  Hard work and dedication make bank and you are not going to get there by pursuing a career you hate.  Follow your passions.

Don’t seek out the needle in the haystack- Strive to find out what it is you do NOT like, might even hate, and what you don’t ever want as a career.  You will get way ahead of the curve weeding out the “absolute nots” in your life than by trying to find ONE niche you love.

Chill out -  Stress is temporary and totally normal.  Ask yourself, will this matter a week from now? Twenty minutes from now? If the answer is no, don’t worry about it. Don't sweat the small stuff, it is about as useful as the accounting class you take sophomore year.  Study hard and be proactive.

It is okay if you leave college and are completely unsure of what you want to do. It is okay if you do not have a job offer the minute you walk. You have a pretty rad life. Like all good things, though, it comes to an end. At the end of it all you walk out with some debt and a a piece of paper but every damn dollar, every dining commons meal, every all-nighter, every broken heart, and every mistake along the way are the core to your memories, laughter, and life long friends. Take it in while you can, because it will be over before you know it. 

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