To every graduated high school senior packing for college, I have to admit something to you:
Freshman year will not be the best year of your life. It probably will not even be the best year of your college career. In fact, freshman year will be tough. You will find yourself to be more lonely than ever before, you will actually miss your parents, and your grades will not be as great as they were in high school.
I may sound mean, but I think it’s time we all start being honest with ourselves. For some, yes, freshman year was their favorite year. However, for the majority, it was a really tough year of self-discovery. Each year, college suicides are increasing and I think part of this problem is that we are putting the notion in everyone’s’ head that they are about to have the best year of their life.
First of all, you’re only 18 and you have a whole life ahead of you - let’s all hope that this isn’t the best year of your life, but that the years will only keep getting better.
Second of all, the only reason people say it’s the best year is because by the time you get to be a senior, you are nostalgic for the past. College is amazing and such a great time that we all want to go back and relive it. But let’s not forget what we all thought when we sat in that cramped dorm room our very own freshman year. Even though I was in a sorority and had an older sibling, I still had a hard time making friends. It was overwhelming. I had straight A’s in high school and for the first time I was struggle to keep B’s.
This is when the problem comes in. Everyone had told me they wanted to be a freshman again and that I was in the best year of my life. Then why was I so sad? For the first time ever, I missed home. I assumed something must be wrong with me if I was not having the best year of my life like everyone else had. As humans, we are so good at faking happiness. Everyone around me seemed fine. I blamed myself for my misery. I wished I was someone else that wasn’t struggling with school in both the academic sense and the social one. As someone who has fought with depression, this mindset held me back a lot. For some, the history of depression mixed with blaming themselves for not living up to the “freshman year” expectation drives them over the edge.
As I came into my sophomore year, I started slowly forming a friend group, finding my way around campus, and learning how to study for college classes. This is when I started discovering how many of my friends had had a rough freshman year. How we were actually all relieved not to be the clueless freshmen anymore.
When we force the idea in someone’s head that they are about to have the best year of their life, we add so much pressure. Students start to blame themselves.
Freshman year will be tough. You will fall flat on your face both literally and figuratively. Keep your chin up, it will get so much better. Every year strive to make it the best but know that most people have a rough start. When you get to senior year, you will look back at freshman year with mostly fondness at how much you learned about yourself and how much you changed in such a short amount of time. Just please remember that it wasn’t always as breezy as your memory suggests. Let’s start being honest so when our fellow peers enter their freshman year, they aren’t afraid to come to us for advice or to rant that the dorms really weren’t an experience “you had to have”.