Advice to My Freshman Self
When you think of your freshman self, what is the first word or phrase that comes to mind? For me, the phrase “fake it until you make it” was my motto. I remember feeling like I had to appear “put together” when I began college. The academic course load? No problem. Making new friends and fitting in on a new basketball team? I got this. Moving to a new state during the COVID-19 pandemic? Easy. Thankfully, I have learned that being genuine is far better in the long run than pretending, and I know several others who have had a similar experience. With that in mind, here are a few pieces of advice that you can give your freshman self or any incoming freshman:
1. “Comparison is the thief of joy”
You can’t be jealous of others if you are focused on your own growth. Especially when entering new environments, being yourself sets you up for success in the future. God made you with a unique personality and with individual abilities, and you can honor Him by living out your own story. In college, there are many people you wish you could be like, whether in ability, knowledge, looks, or personality. However, each of us makes up HU, and the HU story would not be the same without you — just as you are.
2. “Failure is not fatal”
This is a tough one to take on. HU helps us grow more diligent in our work ethic and stronger in our ability to thrive in strenuous academic situations. But most of us learn these life lessons through equal parts of success and failure. As a freshman, you might be afraid to fail. However, you can learn from mistakes and use them as starting points for growth.
3. “The sun will come up tomorrow”
Whenever I think I didn’t do well on an exam or I am stressed about the various responsibilities I have, I tell myself, “The sun will come up tomorrow.” Then, the next day, when I am walking to class, I look up at the sun that did, in fact, rise. No matter if today was the best day of your life or the worst day, the sun will rise again. You will have a chance to begin again tomorrow. As a freshman, you may be tempted to have an absolute way of thinking: once something happens, it will certainly define you and dictate how you feel. However, remembering that tomorrow is a new day allows you to live in the present with hope that a new chance is on the horizon.
Giving grace to your freshman self comes with the responsibility to live out these truths in your life. As you reflect on your freshman self (even if you are a freshman now), celebrate the growth you have made and push forward in your journey of becoming the person God has called you to be. Comparison is the thief of joy. Failure is not fatal. The sun will come up tomorrow.