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Dear First-Year Me

Hey Amanda!

The nickname “Amy” doesn’t stick, just a heads up.

You’re probably super nervous because of the move, but remember there’s Skype and phone calls (you might want to switch to a long-distance plan though) and the Northland bus will get you within 30 minutes from home, where you know your parents will drive to get you even if the bus comes in at midnight (They do. Twice).

Here’s some things I’ve learned since September of 2011 (has it really been that long?) that might help you along in your journey:

You’re going to LOVE residence. Yes this is so cheesy, but you really do become a family and you will really need those friendships throughout the year. Making a BBM group is helpful, but have their numbers too – you get rid of your BlackBerry after first year. Leave your apartment door open, more cheerful faces will wander through that door than troublesome ones. In second year you’ll be a Peer Mentor, a role you will find is more important than you anticipated.

Keep handwriting your notes in class. You know you’ll remember the content better, and sometimes professor’s lectures are more scattered than anticipated so drawing arrows and scribbling in the margins is necessary. But after first year, you’ll stop typing up your handwritten notes after each class and your marks won’t suffer for it.

Don’t be afraid of doing the things you’re interested in. I know it’s a scary time where you think people will judge you for being passionate, but if it’s something you’re interested in go for it! Take blogging for example: you could have started in first year! But you were a scaredy-pants and only started in second year! In fourth-year, you start a Free the Children Club through the SGA with your roommate from first-year – how cool is that! You get into country music (really, you do), and you convince your parents to be okay with you studying abroad (you end up in France for 5 months!) Speaking of interests…

Your friends and interests will change. And that’s natural, and it is okay. Remember to make time for those friends who make time for you. You’ll make a new Facebook account after first year. You learn how to read again – reading articles requires a different eye than reading Harry Potter. You get not only one tattoo, but two! They’re beautiful and perfect and don’t be scared about going for it.

Use. The. Library. Don’t go back to rez between each class. You’ll either fall asleep, eat to kill time, or watch Friends. Instead, use that time to sit in the library, even if you feel like you’re not being productive, its more productive than making KD (trying to avoid the “Freshman 15” is almost inevitable, but its worth a shot).

Chill about your grades. Yes, getting a test or an assignment back with a grade worse than you hoped is disappointing, but, really, stay with me here… its not that big of a deal! Use it as motivation to get some extra help next time, or to study a little bit harder. Even though you definitely chose the correct career path, some of your classes will give you more trouble than others. But once you go in to placement, you’ll remember why you’re in those classes in the first place.

Enjoy it! Again, another cliché, but it goes way faster than you think. A new term becomes popular sometime during third year, “FOMO“, which is an acronym for “Fear of Missing Out” on something huge if you don’t participate in an event. It is a real fear, but try not to worry too much about it – there will be more events to attend, parties to go to, and it doesn’t look like Wacky Wings is going anywhere.

Even if I didn’t give you this advice, I know you’d make it through. Dad said this line once (he probably read it in the paper) and it makes sense a whole lotta sense: If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t make anything.

So keep learning, love lots, read more, worry less, & make mistakes.

Lots of love,

Fourth-year Amanda