Senior Column: A letter to my freshman self

Erin McCollum

Erin McCollum

Erin McCollum, Contributing Writer

Dear Freshman Self,

You are about to embark on the next chapter of your life. I know it is a little overwhelming. You are nervous, excited, overwhelmed, and you have every right to be. 

I’m not going to lie; as I’m sure you expect, college is not going to be easy. It’s not exactly for the reasons you think either. Yes, the classes will be rigorous and the time management will be hard to get a grip on amidst the distractions you have been warned about, but college is so much more than that. 

You will watch your friends get their hearts broken as you desperately try to help them put the pieces back together. And, when your heart gets broken too, they will be there with super glue and Ben & Jerry’s. When things go wrong, it may feel like they all go wrong at once: six classes with tests on the same week, an embarrassing moment, money problems and the flu all pile up quickly. It may not be the end of the world but it seems pretty close sometimes. You will be homesick. No matter how annoying you think your sister is now or how much your parents smother you, in the most obscure moments you will realize why you love them. On top of this, you are in a new place where you know no one. Making new friends all alone is a skill you haven’t drawn on since probably second grade and although you may feel a little rusty you have to jump in with both feet in order to join the crowd. 

However, don’t let this scare you. For each of the difficult moments there are so many that make these the most rewarding four years of your life. For starters, each of those heartbreaks will undoubtedly leave scars, but will also jumpstart growth and self-discovery that you had no idea would be so integral to your college career. For all of those times when the sky feels like it’s falling down, there are so many where you are walking on the clouds. Getting the best grades you’ve ever gotten and then one-upping them the next semester, finding a major that makes you excited to learn, working on campus in a job that is fulfilling and full of joy, trying new restaurants, late-night movies and so much more will make up those joyous little moments that you will never forget. That family that you moved away from only to miss dearly? They will be your biggest cheerleaders. Even when change scares you and you want to crawl back into your bed, they will make you laugh and help you prove to yourself that you are even stronger than you think you are. In the end, you won’t ever be able to thank them enough. Not all of those attempts to make new friends will be successful, and that’s okay because the ones that are will grow into bonds like nothing you’ve ever had. Having a group that you live with, learn with and grow up with is an inimitable experience. These people may be strangers to you now but soon you would do anything for them.

Like I said, it’s okay to be nervous and it’s definitely okay to be excited. If you give all you have and stay true to yourself, you will find a new passion for life while learning incomparable lessons inside and outside of the classroom. You can’t see it now but The University of Alabama will become your home away from home.

Good luck and Roll tide.

Erin McCollum

Erin McCollum is a recent graduate who studied management.