Do not ever underestimate your talent. One was an English professor and the other was a journalism professor, and I was doing really well in both their classes. I will never forget the look of wild confusion on each of their faces when I shared with them the one detail that could prevent me from studying abroad.
Both professors praised my work so highly and told me I was capable of so much more than the grades I was receiving. I walked out crying because, for the first time in my life, I believed them. Follow Thought Catalog on Pinterest. Freshman year is a huge transition period, and I wish I had understood that and handled it with more grace. College is, for most of us, the first time we all truly venture out on our own and begin the work of deciding who we will become.
It is a beautiful time of discovery and one that you wont get to repeat. So if I may, can I ask one thing of you? Your grades are important, and parties are fun, but make sure you take some time for yourself once in a while, away from it all. For me, it has made all the difference. Want a new way to browse Thought Catalog? Check out the Thought Reel. Be selective about those who get to spend time with you. You are main bitch material, dammit!
Stop waiting around for all those losers to see how fucking awesome you are, and make time for the ones that knew it the moment they met you.
Get out there, join a club, and join the community. I know alcohol and the bar scene is new and exciting, but be safe and try not to be too stupid. I made too many mistakes like that as an 18 year old. Everyone is probably telling you right now that these will be the happiest four years of your life. In college you will feel on top of the world and utterly defeated sometimes in the same day. Some of my most meaningful relationships of my freshman year, if not my entire college experience, were the ones I had with seniors when I was a freshman.
I want nothing more than to give that kind of meaning to someone new. I want you to do well, and I want to pass on a legacy at this school through people like you. Also, you guys are precious, and you have a ton of cafeteria swipes. Upperclassmen friends are not hard to make if endless fries and Lucky Charms are involved.
Mine did, and I wish that I was paying more attention to them. My advice for freshmen is to trust their gut in all decisions they make. Do whatever YOU feel most comfortable with regardless of what your friends may think. Accept defeat and eat another donut. I think one of my favorite quotes does a pretty good job at summarizing the advice I would give: College is going to turn your world upside down in both the best and worst ways possible.
You will lose yourself, and you will find yourself again. You will most likely change your major, and your roommates will probably become your best friends. But, they are also the people who will come to know you better than you know yourself and some days you are really going to need that. Never let the fear of failure inhibit you from doing what you know you actually want to do. Take yourself out of your comfort zone.
Make yourself deliberately uncomfortable. You should know that change is both necessary and inevitable, so try to embrace it as best as you can. Part of that process though, is making mistakes; so be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, and then, keep going.
A candle loses no light when lighting others. Build others up whenever you can, support those close to you and help whoever you can — you never know when the tables will turn!
As a freshman I rolled my eyes at these words, I thought good grades, hard work, and sleep deprivation were the answer. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your minds, but the life of your heart.
Not just your bank account, but your soul. So here is what I wanted to tell you today: A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water gap or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a cheerio with her thumb and first finger.
Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Each time you look at your diploma, remember that you are still a student, still learning how to best treasure your connection to others. Pick up the phone. Get a life in which you are generous. Look around at the azaleas in the suburban neighborhood where you grew up; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black, black sky on a cold night.
And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Once in a while take money you would have spent on beers and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.