Health & Lifestyle

To My First-Year Self…

By Sarah Nunez ’22

Staff Writer

Sept. 26, Vol. XXIX, Issue 1

Well. You did it. You shattered all the expectations of your extended family and are now a college student.

May was a month of firsts, ending in a drunken after-prom group cry with friends as you apologized for being teenagers and all the drama that you had ever caused and vowed to always keep in touch, only to find that as soon as you clawed your way off the graduation stage, you never really liked most of those assholes.

So you spent the summer nervously awaiting the next chapter, hoping that the brochure didn’t lie. Maybe you got a new piercing, dyed your hair or completely replaced all your shoes with Birkenstocks and Doc Martens. You vowed that from now on, you would be an adult. Your life would start anew, because Incipit Vita Nova was all over the crap you bought after receiving the acceptance letter.

On move-in day you fought with one of your parents, cried in the bathroom, stared at the blank walls and the small space and wondered, “What the fuck am I doing here?” You worry about roommates and pray that it is more of a Friends situation, but secretly know that it is more likely to be a goddamn mess. This thought is exacerbated by one of your roommates pulling out her sage, threatening to light the place on fire. You hate Core, because everyone hates Core. You gain fifteen pounds because now you have an endless supply of cookies, mac-and-cheese and pizza at your fingertips. And at the dining hall, you are scared to eat alone so you starve yourself, waiting until a friend is out of class to grab lunch.

You love your friends and you meet new people every day. It terrifies and thrills you to be around so many people who get you. You can talk about French philosophy and sex and love and your parents and traveling and politics. You go out, drink and smoke all the things your health teacher warned you about. You talk to boys who wear vintage shirts and like The Smiths and who smoke clove cigarettes while talking about where they came from. Atlanta never seemed like a sexy place until you met that guy from Pomona. You romanticize things. You cry after being ghosted. You threaten to burn his dorm to the ground.

You take naps in the middle of the goddamn day, like an adult.

You fight with friends, make new ones. You flake on dinners and parties and find yourself knowing more people than you ever did in high school, but sometimes feeling so alone you feel like your suffocating.

Friendships fall apart and come back together—the important ones at least. Some never really had any right making it past October. You have long talks at 2 AM, lying on the floor of your dorm, smelling like pot and spilled beer, talking about marriage and kids and all the secret fears you had never expressed to anyone before.

You are the same as you were in high school, although you insist that things are completely different. And yes, to a certain extent, they are. You are bolder, more adventurous and more sure of yourself than you ever thought possible.

Go to class, read the Core books and don’t worry about your major (yet). Don’t be afraid to be alone and be even braver when it comes to letting people into your life. Call your parents. Limit yourself to boxed mac-and-cheese two times a month. Be nice to your roommates, for they can make your life a living hell if they so choose. You will cry on the plane when you leave in May and will cry even harder when you come back the next year. These intense emotions will make you angry and confused, but allow yourself to express them.

Reminder: Tequila makes you sloppy, vodka makes you sad and wine makes you want to dance naked in the streets.

Graphic by Vivian Monteiro