A Letter to My Freshman Self

Dear Freshman Abby,

It’s freshman year. The first year of what will be some of the most fun, challenging, and exciting years of your life. I’m sure you’re nervous, but rest assured, you’ll get the hang of things.

There are definitely some things I wish I had known when I started my freshman year. I’m a second-semester junior now, and while I do not have it all together, I’ve had to learn a lot. God has used my college years to grow me spiritually, academically, and mentally.

I’ve written up some of the biggest things you should keep in mind going into the beginning of your college years.

Prioritize your devotions.

You will hear this more than once in your time at Maranatha. Whether it’s a teacher, a chapel speaker, your dorm sup, your RA, or your room leader. You will continually be challenged to make time with God a priority. But don’t let it go in one ear and out the other. You will become spiritually, mentally, and emotionally dead if you neglect your time in God’s Word.

You won’t grow from the situations that the Lord allows in your life, because you won’t have the biblical foundation to start with. How can you apply God’s Word to the situations He brings if you’re never in it? Even if it’s just 20 minutes a day, morning or evening. Just get in the Word. Talk to Him. This is key to making the most of your college years.

Go to bed.

Seriously, get some sleep. You are not you when you’re tired. You won’t study, write, or read half as well as you normally can when it’s 3 AM and you’re running on 5 hours of sleep. Go to bed at a decent time. Maybe even wake up a little earlier.

No amount of hard work that you put in during the wee hours of the morning will truly help you in the long run. You might get the project done but you aren’t going to remember anything you were supposed to learn. You will be much more productive, well rested, and an overall happier person if you try to get a good night’s rest.

It’s okay to change your major.

Remember when you were in high school, and your Dad kept telling you that you would probably end up changing your major in college at least once? Remember how you would never believe him? Well I’m here to tell you, he was right. In fact, lots of freshman change their major at least once during their college years. This is nothing to be ashamed of.

Abby and her dorm mates

A teacher once said to me “You’re not who you want to be for the rest of your life while you’re in high school,” and that really stuck with me. It’s okay if want to get your feet wet in some experiences before officially declaring your major. Changing your major is not the end of the world, especially if you’re willing to work hard with what you’ve got once you do switch.

It’s not all about your friends.

Yes, the relationships you have and the friendships you’re forming are a huge part of your college experience. But, you have to understand that your education is mostly that; education. It’s not always about figuring out when you’re going to hang out with your friends next. Make good stewardship of your homework a priority.

If you find that you struggle to do your homework when your friends are around, separate yourself. Catch them at breakfast the next morning. Plan fun activities on the weekends. But most of all – be sure that your grades don’t suffer on behalf of your social life. It’s not worth it.

Get out of your own way.

If I could summarize this letter with one thing, it’s this. Get out of your own way. Don’t let your own apprehension and fear control what you do and don’t do in your college years. Try new things. Don’t handicap yourself by convincing yourself that you won’t succeed in something no matter how hard you try.

You’ll miss out on so many cool opportunities if you are afraid to try. So audition for choir or the play, try out for a sports team, and apply for that job you want. You won’t know what you can and can’t do until you try.

Overall, embrace what God has for you with open arms. Love Him, and love His people as an outflow of love for Him. Do His will. Try new things….and it’s okay to take a nap if you need to.