To all the incoming Freshman girls,
Welcome! The next four years of your life are going to go by at a crazy, lightening fast speed, so hold on to your hats and take it all in. As someone who has just graduated about two and a half months ago, I thought I'd compile my best advice into this open letter for all of you. So here we go:
Find the people who don't make you feel like Freshmen. There are definitely doing to be the people who see you and don't want to give you the time of day simply for the grade that you're in. There are going to be the people who tell you to move so they can sit where you are, and there are going to be people who scoff when you express a fear about your first time taking finals. But there are also going to be the people who don't make you feel like that. There will be people who will lift you up and show you how to be the person you want to become. There will be people who support and encourage you, and there will be people who remind you to keep breathing when life knocks all the air out of you. Find those people, and remember them when you're no longer a Freshman.
If you're anything like me, you are going to fall into a deep infatuation with two people. One is going to be your complete opposite, but will probably have a few amazing qualities that will make you overlook all the stuff you'd normally run far away from. The second will be someone who you think is perfect. They'll be kind, they'll make you laugh, and they will make your life seem better than you thought possible. What possible trait do these two people have in common? They'll both break your heart. In different ways, mind you, but they will. Learn from each heartbreak. Remember that you are so incredibly young and have so much life left to live. Remember to surround yourself with good things and remember to let go when you need to. Someday you'll find someone who won't break your heart, and the people who have will be like the stepping stones to that person.
Find a strong group of friends, but be willing for that group to change. Find a group of girls who make you feel strong, and powerful, and talented, and beautiful. Find them so you have someone to cry with when you go through the heartbreak, and someone to laugh with when life hands you something so beautiful you don't know what to do with yourself. When the group changes, let it. Time will change people, and that's okay. Make sure you have those few friends that will always be there, even if you move away. Find a boy who is a friend, and will always be a friend and nothing more. Find him so you have someone to go to the banquet with when you really want to go with someone. Find him so you have someone to protect you when you're scared but to still show you you're brave enough on your own. Find him so you have someone to look at stars with when you're sad.
Don't fight the other girls. If you like a boy and he likes another girl, don't hate her. You'll waste energy that could be spent writing the next great novel or practicing for an audition. Don't hate her. It isn't worth it. Lift each other up, because there are enough problems in this world and we don't need girls picking on other girls for reasons that will just seem silly four years down the road.
Figure out how to curl your hair, or at least find a friend who knows how and can do it for you before your first big Christmas event. Trust me, in four years you'll thank yourself. Wear makeup if you want to, but don't feel like you have to. Cut your hair, or grow it out forever. Wear the clothes that you like. Use a really colorful backpack or a black one. In the end, these things don't really matter, but in a way they do. So do what you makes you happy, because how you felt is all you'll remember later.
Do all you can to open as many doors as possible. Join choir and drama if you want to go into musical theatre. Do sports if that's what you love. Study really hard for all your tests and quizzes. Don't give up. Get involved. Be kind. Find a song that you absolutely adore and play it all the time. Read good books. Go to the birthday parties. Remember that there are things you need to worry about, but there are so many things that you really don't have to think about yet. Believe in yourself, because as cliche as that sounds, it's still very important.
Lastly, ignore all my advice. Sometimes, the best parts of your life happen when you say you're going to figure things out by yourself (this isn't always true, but sometimes it is). Part of the joy of finishing high school is looking back and knowing that you grew up a little bit. And no amount of homework, projects, or advice can make that happen. The mistakes that you make, the friendships that change, the broken hearts, and the old pictures where you tried to curl your hair and it didn't work out are the things that do. Those are the moments that make you look back and smile. So stand up as tall as you can, and go enjoy the next four years.
An Incoming (College) Freshman Girl
"Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final."
~ Rainer Maria Rilke