by Emma Saso
Dear first year,
Transitions are tough. A mere three months ago you were thrown from your own realm of familiarity and comfort, with family, friends, and environments that you knew oh so well, into the foreign world that is college. This new world—one so soaked in opportunity that you are forced to squint your excited eyes to see the horizon of possibilities surrounding you—is one that with time, patience, and some good old TLC, you will be able to adopt as your own.
But where does that leave you now? Struggling to PERM into intro classes, fighting homesickness, zealously avoiding the freshman fifteen, dealing with passive aggressive suite mates, and anxiously scrambling to find your niche.
Without a doubt, balancing these first year stresses is a challenge in and of itself different from anything you have previously faced. What’s more is that you’re doing this balancing act under the pretense that you’re operating with a timer ticking down the seconds above your head, threatening to run to zero. You feel the need to rush into college life, to make friends, to join clubs, to constantly and wholeheartedly embrace the social butterfly within yourself.
You don’t want to miss out.
Despite this mountain of concern, when around your peers you dawn a facade of ease and comfort. Your aura portrays that things simply could not be better. College is supposed to be the time of your life, is it not?
You think you’re the only one.
And why shouldn’t you think this? When you look around you see your peers embodying that same facade, with that same calm air of self assurance, putting up that same barrier between self and self representation.
Well here’s one thing you should know. As you feel you’re walking a tightrope across PAS, balancing parties, classes, and friends, so do I. So does your roommate. So does the person who lives next door to you, as well as the one who lives next door to them, and them, and them, and those below you or above you or across from you and even the ones in the mysterious abyss that is Atherton.
In other words, you aren’t the only one. To quote one of the most critically acclaimed and intellectually stimulating productions in the history of theater, “We’re all in this together.”
Many of us have realized that our first day friendships aren’t actually what we’re looking for. However, despite the pressure we may feel, there is no time limit or deadline that exists beyond which we won’t be able to meet and form connections with others. Many others have begun to accept that our roommate doesn’t have to be our best friend.
Some of us have admitted to bitting off more than we can chew, while others may have noted they’ve been spending too much time in the shadows. We have also—with utter disbelief at our invincible young adult selves—begun to admit to sentiments of homesickness, longing for the comfort of old friends and family members, and excitement for the upcoming break to take much needed time off from the constant stimuli that define college life.
So let’s break down our barriers and rid ourselves of our facades. We’ve entered this new environment together, and we all have to learn how to be a part of it and how to share it before we can begin to feel at home within it. Instead of stumbling in the dark towards meaningless ideals, let’s transition at our own paces, open up to one another, and realize the strength we are given by the community of professors, peers, and everyone else here to support us. With this in mind, in four years we will look back on our college experience as one filled with countless challenges and remarkable growth—an experience that will forever occupy a special place in our memories as one of the best times of our lives.
One of Us.