When I rolled on to campus move in day I was feeling pretty confident. I had two years of community college under my belt and two summers spent at Summer Honors, a high school camp here at Lee where you have the opportunity to earn college credit. This wasn’t my first rodeo. I had 48 command strips in my pocket and a free t-shirt on my back.
My confidence quickly turned into self awareness. I realized after a week on campus that I was a cliche. The lanyard around my neck grew heavy as I self consciously ate Sodexo for the 15th time that week. I started to see that all around me were hundreds of freshman just like me.
We were those struggling to find their IDs, already at the door of Conn Center chapel, with the judging eyes of the ushers and upperclassmen burning into our backs as we apologize and search our backpacks. We were those in line for ice cream in Deacon Jones making jokes about “the freshman 15” with uncomfortable uncertainty. We were those standing just outside the bookstore, asking the Lord to guide us, unaware of the joys of online book shopping.
Your first year at a four year university is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Yes it can feel like summer camp. Yes some of the classes are like the ones you took at community college. However, living on campus full time and adjusting to the culture of a university is something you can’t really plan or set expectations for. In this first year we are all growing and changing so much. Whether you are trying to fit in, you’re excited about the college experience you’ve heard so much about, or you just love free food and t-shirts you are going to act like “A Freshman” at some point during your first year at university.
But there is nothing wrong with being a freshman.
Freshmen are excited. Freshmen are excited to learn. Freshmen get to meet new people everyday. Freshmen are always trying something new. Freshmen live in community and in the moment. Freshmen remind the upperclassmen what is great about college. College is a fresh start and no one appreciates that more than the freshmen do.
So I want to empower freshmen. Do not be afraid to make the mistakes every freshmen makes. Over pack. Eat Chick-Fil-A until you never want it again. Use all your flex in the first month. Wear your freshmen t-shirts with pride. All your mistakes and experiences this year help prepare you for everything that is to come. Don’t let other people bring you down. Love your school and be enthusiastic even if it isn’t cool.
Being a freshman is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You worked hard to get here and you’re going to have to work really hard to stay here. Might as well have fun and not take yourself too seriously. Just make sure you’re not that Freshman who fails all of their classes. Study hard and wear your ID card with pride.