Auburn Family

23 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Freshman Year Self

I graduated high school in 2011 and at now, at 23, am finally about to walk across that graduation stage.

In the timeline of standard college life, I should have already graduated and moved on by now. But, as it stands, I'm exactly a year behind the rest of my high school friends.

If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would be in this position, I would have laughed. I was an overachiever in high school. I wanted to be the best. That competitive nature caught up with me when I moved away to school and I started to slip.

I wasn't smarter than my classmates, but average. I wasn't the best singer in choir, just good. And that hurt me, for whatever nonsensical reason. Combine that with compound illnesses and struggling to make friends, I did something I had never done up to that point: I started to fail.

Even now, 5 years removed, I can't pinpoint exactly what went wrong. I do know that if I could come back in time, I would shake my 18-year-old self, whip her into shape, and share these reflections from that time.

23 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Freshman Year Self

1. Your parents are not the enemy. Yes, they are frustrating. Yes, sometimes they are far from helpful. But they are not the enemy.

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2. You don't have to be the best.

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3. You don't have to be the smartest.

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4. There will always people who are better than you. But that doesn't mean you give up trying to be the best. Just don't get discouraged in the process.

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5. It's perfectly okay to miss your high school friends.

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6. It's even more okay to make new ones.

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7. Lying doesn't help anyone. Tell the truth. Even when it hurts. Especially when it hurts.

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8. Get out of bed. Yes, you're sick. Yes, life sucks. Yes, it's all horrible. Get out of bed anyway.

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9. Don't wait until it's too late to ask for help. But also, don't just take the medicine the med clinic gives you without checking into it.

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10. Walk around campus for a few minutes and let it soak in that you attend Auburn University. That's a big deal. Don't forget it.

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11. It's okay that you don't know what you're going to do with your life.

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12. Get involved in something you're actually passionate about. If you have to force it, it's not worth it.

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13. Don't commit to something if you're not going to be able to follow through. It makes you look bad and feel bad.

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14. You don't need to have or do what everyone else is doing.

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15. There's no reason to go home or out every weekend.

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16. Don't spend all of your Tigercard money at Starbucks. It's tempting, but it's not worth it.

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17. Take some time to turn everything off and be alone with your thoughts.

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18. Go for a walk. Go for a bike ride. Go to the gym. Join a fitness class. Do something that makes your endorphins happy. It'll make you feel better.

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19. You don't need a boyfriend. You especially do not need to be in a relationship with guys who don't care about you.

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20. Make an appointment with your advisor. Often. They know how to get you to graduation.

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21. If you have to take some time off, it doesn't mean you aren't cut out for college. Take time to make sure you know what is important to you.

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22. Don't blow all your spending money buying Kindle books. Seriously. You need to read the assigned reading.

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23. You made it this far. Don't forget who you are, or where you came from. And always remember to love yourself.

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