If I met freshman year Suha today, I would sit her down in a coffee shop.
I would ask her to bring all her journals from the past, and beg her to bring a new one as well.
She will refuse. She will try to convince me that this is her starting a new life, and that writing is a coping mechanism for people who don’t know how to deal with their problems. I will probably want to smack her with one of her journals.
Because believe me — halfway through college, you will regret not writing down every single moment.
College isn’t easy, but it is something you want to remember.
I have a lot of advice for the person I was only a couple years ago. I’ve learned so much in the past two years. Every encounter, every new place, every new experience related to this college life has somehow shaped me into the person I am today. And I don’t regret it.
I do, however, wish I knew some things before going on this crazy journey.
Never let fear consume who you are.
The idea of attending a new school with completely new faces is indeed frightening, but you shouldn’t let that fear change you. As cliche as it sounds, don’t try to be someone you’re not. Don’t let other people try to change you either. If you feel yourself changing out of fear, something is wrong. Stick to your gut, and most importantly, stick to who you are.
Not everyone will like you. It is OK.
You didn’t attend college so everyone can like you. That wasn’t your goal, and it never should be. Be a good person and be the best person you can be. If people say or think otherwise, let them say what they want to say and think what they want to think. People will always talk. It is how you deal with their words that shows your true self.
Get out of your comfort zone.
Go on that crazy midnight adventure to Avila Beach. Take the time to wake up early for the sunrise hike. Join that club that you’re insanely afraid to join. Don’t let nerves stop you from a great opportunity of meeting new people. The group of people you meet in these settings might just be who you call family in a couple years.
Don’t give up.
Whether it’s that club you didn’t immediately fit in, or that residence hall that just doesn’t seem right, don’t just leave right away. The first quarter of college isn’t meant to be all rainbows and sunshine. It is filled with culture shock, adjustment, the hassle of making new friends and the struggle of balancing social life, academics and sleep. It will be hard. But it’s important to stick through one more quarter, because it will be worth it. Things aren’t meant to be perfect at first. Everyone who tells you their first quarter in college was perfect is most likely lying.
Lots of opportunities for “someone special” will come into your life. But focus on school and doing well.
You need to seriously remind yourself that you went to college to learn, not to meet your “soulmate.” Work hard. Take on extracurriculars and participate in jobs to keep you busy. Maybe while you’re working hard to be the best person you can be, someone special will notice and admire it. That’s the person you want to end up with.
You will become friends with the most unexpected people.
Don’t search for them. They will miraculously show up in your life when you’re not even looking.
Whatever happens, happens.
If you regret doing something six months down the line in college, don’t dwell on it. Pick yourself up and realize every mistake, every failure, every conflict is really just an opportunity to learn. Everything happens for a reason — don’t forget it.
Suha Saya is a journalism junior and special sections coordinator of Mustang News. If you’re interested in sharing what you wish you knew then with incoming freshmen, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our Freshman 101 tab for more how-tos, tips and advice for incoming freshmen.