Dear Incoming Freshmen,
I’ve been here a while and I want to tell you a few things that I have learned. Don’t worry about who you want to be when you get here. Just be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be and everything will work out. Don’t try to have your entire life planned before you arrive. Maybe you think you want to be a pharmacist because you want a nice living, but you don’t like biology class. When it’s the end of the semester and you’re miserable, don’t be afraid to change your major to reflect something you’re passionate about, like medieval literature or physics.
Another note on changing your major: you have time. Don’t change your major the first week of school. Wait until the end of the semester and see how you feel. It won’t set you back if you take your general studies courses first to test the waters. That is why they are there. Also, don’t feel pressured to take on more than you can handle. Talk to you advisor about all of your academic concerns. Talk to career services. Talk to the random staff members who wave at you during the day. All of these are wonderful resources of wisdom and life experience from a variety of backgrounds.
Don’t ever change your major because of a teacher. There will be terrible professors during your college career. It’s inevitable that you will not get along with all of them, nor will you agree with most of them on various issues. They are not here to teach you what to think, but how to think. So, when you start walking to their office to tell them all of the reasons they are wrong and why they shouldn’t teach that material, turn your energy inward and research it for yourself so that you can defend your stance if necessary.
If you get a C in the class that you spent the most time working in, you should treasure it. That is the grade you should be proud of because it meant that you were stretched beyond your capability to maintain your shape and you are different for the experience. Don’t let yourself become jaded over it and don’t change your life goals over a grade. Make plans and do better because you can. You can choose to blame the instructor or you can determine to excel regardless.
The best advice I was given when I was coming to college was to have an open mind about the experience and to decide that I would enjoy it. I gave myself a two week time period where I had to give it a chance and not get upset or entertain thoughts of going home or transferring somewhere I imagined would be better. If you choose to be successful and happy, you will accomplish those feats others can’t seem to move past. Part of this is also realizing that you will make many friends here, but not all of them will be your best friends. Don’t limit yourself to a certain number and don’t be dependent on the concept of a “friend group” because it will only hold you back from amazing relationships. The first people you meet will not always be your best friends in college for all four years, and that is a good thing.