Hi everyone! Can you believe that we are in August already? Summer just seems to be flying right on by… or is that how it seems to me?
Anyways, now that summer is coming to an end in a couple of weeks I wanted to write a post about something that has been featured in a lot of my posts here on this blog, and that is COLLEGE.
If you’ve read my posts, then you know that I graduated last May and that I sadly won’t be returning back to college this upcoming semester. I found this old blog post that I written and decided that I should update it, as I wrote it before starting my junior year, and share it with you all, so here it is….
Hello future freshmen,
First off, I want to start this letter by saying, “Congrats! You did it!” You survived high school. You took the SAT’s. You finished your AP exams. You managed to survive your junior year of high school. You’ve walked across that stage, diploma in hand, and now you are getting ready to embark on this new journey in your life. I would like to start by telling you that no matter how you’re feeling, whether it be excited, nervous, or anxious, that it is okay.
College is like nothing you have ever faced before and something that no movie can 100 percent capture, in my opinion.
As someone who graduated, I can personally say that college is stressful but also incredibly rewarding. Coming into my freshman year, I was a little anxious but overly peppy and overjoyed to have this chance to leave my hometown and attend a college that I personally felt suited me and what I want to do with my life, which was to be a famous actor.
I applied to many colleges my senior year, and after spending money to go on a five-day senior year music department field trip to Myrtle Beach, I was blessed to have received a financial aid letter giving me enough money to be able to attend my top choice school, Juniata College, to study Theatre Performance and Communication.
I had visited the campus at least three times, fell in love with the theatre department, admired the beauty of the campus, loved the fact that I can create my own “major”, which is called a POE (Program of Emphasis), and have also met professors and faculty who genuinely care about me and are willing to help me but at the same time not “coddle” me.
Entering freshman year, I had hung out with friends that I had made at Orientation and Inbound, got involved in Student Alumni Association, and was also incredibly honored to have been cast in The Glass Menagerie. I was on cloud nine.
I also attended my first college party, as early as my first weekend, and I didn’t fall in love with the party scene right away. It was loud, sweaty, and there were drunk people EVERYWHERE. I ended up also trying my first sip of beer that weekend, as well. Overall, not really a rewarding experience. “Well, at least I have Netflix,” I thought to myself. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Flashback to that first Sunday night, I had my first realization on how hard college was as I was sitting on my bed surrounded by work to do: a prompt for an essay to start for my CWS class, an IA module that needed prompt submission by midnight, and about 30 or more pages to read for Intro To Human Communication. I didn’t finish the reading assignment for my communication class, and I just told myself I would double up on workload and tackle it along with the next assignment.
Lesson number #1 future freshman: don’t think like this because there is a strong possibility that you won’t actually have the chance.
The upcoming weeks just kept getting harder. Reading assignments went unread, classes were skipped, rehearsals ran from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at least three days a week, and I was honestly just trying to make it to the weekend, where I developed special skills in beer pong and crafting the perfect pregame playlists. I even created this belief in my head that as long as I wasn’t failing, I could go out to parties on the weekend, and then eventually just going out regardless of my grades or responsibilities.
Midterms week was creeping up, and I ended up getting a C+ on my Intro To Human Communication test. I was stunned and even shocked. I knew I missed one or two things, but I was completely in shock when I saw that my grade didn’t reflect the ones of my fellow peers.
Lesson number #2: You have to abandon that high school thought that you can cram for an hour the night before and ace any test.
Coming off of a year of high school, where I was basically getting straight A’s in all of my class, I was sure that I had just been pelted by a dodgeball in gym class. I took this grade as, “Oh, I suck at Communication. Time to make it a minor instead.” I did that.
Lesson number #3: Just because you get one bad grade in a class that is your major, that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be good in that career field or that it’s not for you.
Do switch majors, however, if you fall out of love with what you’re learning or you can’t see yourself working in that field. I did eventually re-fall in love with the communication field later on in the semester and then switched my POE back to majoring in both Theatre Performance and Communication.
A little over a month in, I still wasn’t doing any better at the student part that comes with college. I was heavily procrastinating on doing my laundry, not even hanging the clean clothes up and just leaving them in the hamper. I was also pulling at least two all-nighters a week, and developing a new love for Starbucks frappuccinos to get me through the day and Smirnoff to help me “get ready” to party on the weekend.
I got taken out of The Glass Menagerie just two weeks before its opening, rightfully so for not having my lines memorized. This was extremely difficult to tell my parents, who were immensely excited to see me act in my first college production, blaming my removal on stress and omitting the part about alcohol and parties. I also stressed myself to the point where I asked one of my professors if I could have an extension on one of my essays, which was allowed, after explaining how stressed I made myself.
Lesson number #4: If you see yourself in this position, get help. Also, don’t tackle too much in your first semester of college, unless you 100 percent know that you can handle it.
My first semester ended, and my grades reflected this lackluster performance that I had put into college so far. “I will fix this,” I said to myself as I entered into the spring semester. I had a plan to do better, and it was going to happen. I had gone into the semester with a newfound inspiration to add English as a major, taking the literature route later on, so that would now make my POE: Theatre Performance, Communication, and English Literature.
My plan that I had to do better this semester was nothing short of an idea. I still went to parties, I still skipped the occasional class, and I was still in the same mindset that I had first semester of college, with grades even plummeting worse than what they were last semester, and I even failed my first class that semester.
Flash forward another semester, and I was still making mistakes. I had moved into the party dorm and became even more involved with the college party lifestyle if that was even possible. I just couldn’t bear the thought of actually staying in my dorm room, and actually missing a party. That option, to me, was unbearable. “I will find that balance of being a good student and partying,” I told myself. Nope.
Even though I was meeting people on the weekends, I let myself not enhance and further develop the friendships I already had my freshman year and lost touch with people, succumbing to just having them as acquaintances and not the friends I was having weekly movie nights with. I eventually told my parents the truth about the problems I was facing in college, moved out at the end of fall semester, decided to move into a single bedroom next semester, and went to talk to a counselor.
Eventually, I had finally dragged myself out of this problem I had developed in the past three semesters and took the time to work on myself. Long story short, it paid off. I stayed in a little more, I got involved in the school paper, wrote a solo play, and had finally solidified my major after changing it ONLY FIVE times: Theatre & Media Writing.
I still had fun, but I have finally achieved that perfect balance of having fun whilst still being responsible. This semester paid off, as my GPA went up by half a letter grade, almost making Dean’s List.
There may have been a lot of bad, but college has come with a lot of good.
In just over four years, I have written my own senior capstone play, studied abroad, been on a trapeze, written for the school newspaper, wrote and performed my own theatre solo play, been involved with many clubs on campus, immensely improved my GPA, learned a lot about myself, expanded my mind in ways that can’t be learned in a classroom and most importantly, made friends who have deeply impacted my life in ways that I can’t even explain.
I hope this happens to you. I hope that you have a wonderful first year of college. I hope that you make friends, who will change your life for the better. I hope that you have classes, that make you happy for your future, and/or even help make up your mind on what you truly want to do with your future.
I hope that you make mistakes, and learn from them. I hope that you have fun at that party, but remember to study hard and make good grades. I hope that despite the stress, you will reap the rewards. I hope that you survive studying for your finals. I hope your four years stay just four. I hope these years are filled with incredible experiences. I hope that you remember to take photos of it all.
Most of all, I hope that you attend a college that you fall in love with and inspires you to find and tackle your dreams.
Someone Who Was In Your Shoes Four Years Ago
So are any of you reading this post apart of the class of 2022? If so, what college are you attending and what are you studying? Are you excited? Nervous? Anxious? Let me know in the comments or feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com with any concerns you may have!