Dear freshman self,
Hi! You did it. You’re officially an Auburn student. I write to you as senior nearing the end of my journey at Auburn. How bittersweet it is to write that sentence. Your time here will challenge you, transform you and prepare you to enter the real world.
It brings tears to my eyes to think of all the things you’ll see and experience in the coming years. God’s plans are truly greater than you can imagine and He will use you in ways you never expected.
I know you are full of excitement and a little afraid, but here are a few surprises and words of wisdom for your time in the Loveliest Village on the Plains.
1. You will never feel more lonely than you feel right now
You are so brave. You moved 14 hours away from all that you’ve ever known to an unfamiliar place full of new faces. The first few weeks (months at that!) of freshman year are awkward, there’s just no way around it. Make the most of it.
Get lunch with strangers. Smile at everyone you see. Talk to the people in your classes. Odds are, they feel just as awkward as you do.
Don’t be intimidated by sororities just because you chose not to join one. Be so happy for the girls you meet who are bubbling with excitement over their sorority functions but don’t ever doubt your decision. Be true to yourself and don’t be afraid to make friends with sorority girls. Many of them will end up being your dearest friends.
Relish this alone time. You’re going to learn so much about yourself and develop healthy habits that will stick with you for life. Enjoy your own company and don’t feel uncomfortable when you are alone in public. Embrace it.
With 24,000 students on campus, you’re going to have to make a conscious effort to make friends and keep up with them. When you make plans with people, keep them. Follow up with new friends you make in passing.
Oddly enough, some of the friends you make freshman year will be lifelong friends, and others will become people you smile at in passing, it’s just the way college goes. Spoiler: you won’t be best friends with your freshman roommate, but that’s perfectly ok. Treat every person with all the kindness you want to be treated with.
Second spoiler: you never saw this coming nor thought you wanted this now, but you’re going to fall in love in a few weeks. This handsome, God-fearing man will bless you in more ways than you can imagine, and your relationship with him is even better than you’ve ever dreamed it could be. It will require effort and grace, but you will learn how to truly love and be loved. The best part? He’s your best friend.
In your time at Auburn, you will find the friends you’ve been praying for, and they will love you every ounce you love them (and then some). Your days will be filled with joy and sweet memories with them, and your weekends will have plenty of road trip adventures. Go ahead, text that girl Katie Gentry you met recently and ask her to hang out. You can thank me later.
3. Work hard, but stop and smell the roses
This isn’t exactly a spoiler, but you’re going to work just as hard as you did in high school in college. You may end up changing your major a few times here and there, but you’re going to graduate in three years believe it or not! That means that you’re going to have heavy course loads and some stressful nights, but don’t let this be your only focus.
You’ll learn the balance between excelling in school and being purposeful with your time. You work so very hard, but you’re not going to score perfectly on everything–it’s nearly impossible to. “Work heartily as unto the Lord,” but most importantly, make time for the Lord. Set aside quiet time to study and pray. Go to that bible study over studying. Prioritize spiritual things always.
Don’t be too social when you need to study, but make time for your friends. These three years are precious and go by so quickly. Never again will you have your best friends right down the hall from you, so take advantage of it. You’ll remember those nights far more easily than the time you spent studying.
Go on trips and do cheesy-Auburn-things, like sitting on Samford Lawn with your girlfriends on a beautiful spring afternoon or screaming your lungs out at every football game. You will smile every time you think back to these moments.
Finally, have courage, dear girl. Life is messy and difficult, but so lovely and reflective of God’s love at the same time. Do your best and love with everything you have. Never be afraid, “for He who is in you is greater.”
Your senior self