It’s you, from the future. Time’s gone all wibbly wobbly and allowed me to write this letter to you on your first week of school. You’ll understand the reference I just made when you discover Doctor Who in a few months.
So begins your journey of tears, tribulations, and triumphs big and small. You’re nervous as hell. You’ve never taken college level courses before and you’re not too sure about your roommates. They seem quiet and standoffish. I can assure you that they are just as nervous, confused, and anxious as you. They’re in the same boat as you.
Let me put your fears to rest. There’s something special about Rocky. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but Rocky is more than just a school. It’s very much like a family. Whether you like it or not, you are going to grow close to many people on campus. Most of your greatest friends will bond with you over a shared interest in social issues and Harry Potter trivia. Some of your acquaintances are going to get to know you as the guy who shows up at parties and does magic tricks.
I’ll save you the trouble of uncertainty, and say that you will eventually be a social studies broadfield education major and you’re going to be amazing at it.
You will spend your first year getting your general education requirements out of the way, where you will discover many interests that you will continue to pursue throughout your college career.
Rocky arguably has the best education program in the state. The professors genuinely care about making you the best teacher that you can possibly be. Children’s Literature will be one of the most enjoyable classes that you will take. Educational psychology will become something that you will have an unsurprising passion for. Curriculum will be tough, but you will be a significantly better teacher as a result.
Remember that every time life gives you a swift kick in the pants, it is also teaching you a lesson.
Life will teach you many lessons both in and out of the classroom. It will teach you that you thrive in an environment like Rocky, where everyone knows each other. Professors at Rocky are far more personable and easier to connect with than at larger institutions, and it’s impossible to get lost in the crowd.
You will quickly learn that sometimes the greatest advantages yield unexpected drawbacks. In a school where everyone knows everyone else, there is very little escape from inevitable drama. Keep in mind that the benefit of having your professors know you and care about you as an individual student significantly outweigh petty nonsense among your peers.
You’re also going to write an 83-page Honors Thesis. It will challenge you in ways that you can’t even comprehend right now. You will nevertheless have an amazing academic support system at your disposal that will not only help to guide you to the completion of your thesis, but will prepare you incrementally over the course of three years for writing this hell of a project.
But enough about what you’re going to do. I have several bits of advice for you that should help guide you to make decisions I wish I’d made differently.
Start writing for The Summit. Seriously. You get paid $40 an article. After a few hours of writing and research and thirty minutes of editing, you have $40 more spending money in the bank. It’s so freaking easy.
If you don’t feel happy in a friendship or relationship, remember that there is nothing stopping you from leaving other than your own stubbornness. Learn to recognize that life is too short to stay in situations that make you unhappy.
Spend more time your freshman year partying. Be safe and don’t be stupid, but get out of your dorm. Form friendships. Make mistakes. Your school provides free condoms. Do with that information what you will.
I know you’re scared. I know you’re confused and anxious about your classes. You won’t get straight A’s all the time and that is okay. Just know that you’re in the best of all possible schools for you. It’s not perfect. But it’s better for you than any other school out there, especially Carroll.