College is a huge move, and I’m not talking about just the distance, although I did trek all the way from California. I’m talking about the growth you will experience in character and lifestyle.
Recently, I noticed BU tweeted out a question to upperclassmen, asking them to name three things they wish they had brought with them freshman year. (Um, besides everything?) I brought clothes and just enough flip flops to get me through the fall. Looking back today as a senior, I realize my closet could have been fuller and my walls a little brighter, but more importantly, I could have been as well: brighter in the sense of happiness, fuller in the sense of ambition.
Having now visited six countries and about 10 states talking about my experiences in college, I want to tell incoming freshmen that everything is going to be okay. I know the freshman-year fears: I was working four jobs, taking classes, and crying just about every other night.?Don’t get me wrong, college is a fun, beautiful time, but it’s also a time of great uncertainty, doubt, and loneliness. I just want freshmen to know that they are going to be fine by being exactly who and how they are. You’re at one of the greatest institutions in the world.
Here are the three things I wish I’d brought with me to BU three years ago.
Fearlessness. I was terrified. Like all the time. I know this seems strange and not at all like me, but believe me, I was scared. Not necessarily of the new experience, but I felt like I didn’t belong and so I shut down. Freshman year was THE HARDEST YEAR, EVER. And surprisingly, now going into my senior year, I’ve heard this from a lot of people. If you aren’t having a good time, it’s okay to say so. It will help you assess, reevaluate, and work towards a greater time.
My Hobby.?I’m a big crafter, a creative baby who was raised with a hot glue gun in one hand and a sticker collection in the other. It brings me joy and peace of mind. But the more logical side of me decided to sell my art supplies and crafting goodies before moving across the country. Probably wise for the time being, but in the long term, I didn’t feel I had my creative outlet of expression. Eventually, when I went home for Christmas, I stocked up on some magazines, but they didn’t do the trick. So I decided to look elsewhere and joined organizations that were doing cool, creative things. This definitely helped, but if there is one thing I would suggest, it’s believe in your talents, hobbies, passions, and pursuits. They’ll keep you sane—and grounded.
A Clean Slate. You’ve heard this advice before: “Break up with your boyfriend back home.” But more than that, try not to take extra baggage with you to campus. You don’t need it. Easier said than done, I know. But if you can try to slowly let go of anything that doesn’t make you happy, I highly recommend you do it. Sure, occasional Skype calls are okay. But eventually you’ll learn there was a reason why it didn’t work out the first 4,345 times. Just let it go. You’re in a new place. It’s your time to learn more about who you are, what you want, and how to get it.
P.S. Totally ignoring people doesn’t work, either. It’s hard on the soul. Let things organically play out, don’t push your feelings, and the truth will be apparent in time.
Why didn’t I list things you can run out and buy? Because you really don’t need most of those things. Those cute white boards and dorm decor? Totally not needed. To be honest, I didn’t have money my freshman year to buy food, let alone room decor. For the first couple of months, I felt out of the loop, because so many dorms were super cute and decorated to the T. But when it came time to pack, I was glad I hadn’t invested money in decor because 1) so much goes to waste and 2) if you’re traveling distances, nobody has room for all that junk in their trunk, literally. As a senior, I’ll admit, I will be decorating my dorm, but with goodies I’ve snagged over the years. That said, should you choose to decorate, make yourself at home! Seriously, you’ll need a place you can come back to after a long day that you can call home. Make it a place in which you’ll be proud to have lived.
Warning: Items on this list cannot be bought. They may be pursued and come from one’s personal belief in oneself. If there is one item you should take from the list, I highly recommend you take your belief in yourself and in something larger than yourself—your ideas, your purpose, your future.
“POV” is an opinion page that provides timely commentaries from students, faculty, and staff on a variety of issues: on-campus, local, state, national, or international. Anyone interested in submitting a piece, which should be about 700 words long, should contact Rich Barlow firstname.lastname@example.org. BU Today reserves the right to reject or edit submissions. The views expressed are solely those of the author and are not intended to represent the views of Boston University.