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August 16, 2015

Dear College Freshman…

Dear College Freshman,

You’ve just barely gotten settled.  Your parents may have just walked out the door after a last hug and kiss on the cheek or they may have left several days ago.  Either way, you’re now officially in college, more of an adult than you were this time last week, and possibly scared out of your mind.   Although, it’s possible that you’ve been waiting on this day for months and you have your feet propped up in your dorm room after a day of wandering campus, meeting everyone you can, and just waiting until your new group of friends head out for dinner tonight.

But it’s also possible that you’re curled up in your loft bed, wrapped in a blanket (because your roommate prefers Antarctica to normal human temperatures), wishing you were back in your room at home with your best friend sitting right beside you and with your parents just downstairs.  It’s ok that you wish your parents were close by, I won’t tell anyone ;-)

Whatever situation you find yourself in right now, I would bet that the best word to describe it all is surreal.  You’ve been planning for this move for close to a year now, you’ve been anticipating going to college for longer than that, and now here you are… on your own.  Classes that will possibly determine your career path will begin in a few days.  You’re meeting people that may or may not become life-long friends.  And you’re making your own decisions that you get to experience the full consequences of… whether they’re good or bad.  But it’s hard to soak it all in because it kind of just feels like you’re at camp and will be going back home in a week or so.

Which is why I want to encourage you to take some time to process through that, shed a few tears if they come, and then get out there!!  Go meet the people on your hall.  Go stand in line for football tickets and then GO to the games.  Check out all of the “first week” activities (especially the ones with free food!).  And engage people in your classes because chances are they are feeling JUST the way you are and would love a friend more than anything right now.  Check out the organizations on campus (FCA ended up being what I got involved in… the free food they had during first week may have had just a little bit to do with that), get involved in an all-girls or all-guys bible study, eat in the cafeteria and then hang around to meet the next group that comes through when their class lets out (only if you don’t have a class… I’m not supporting skipping classes!).

Within a couple of weeks you will have introduced yourself, your major and where you’re from more times than you can count.  But I guarantee that by your junior year, you’ll look back to at least a couple of those times and realize that those friends are some of your best friends.  And those people will be the ones you end up doing life with… the good, the bad, the tough, the fun, the adventures, all of it.

Oh and if you’re worried about your major, whether you’ve decided what you want to do or not, don’t.  I may have taken the long road and ended up getting a degree that I don’t use a lot, but I wouldn’t change any part of my 5.5 years at Clemson for anything.  Whatever school you’ve chosen to go to, God has a plan for you and my biggest piece of advice is to just listen to Him.  If you don’t know how to do that, I’m more than happy to answer your questions, but even before you email me I would encourage you to find someone on that amazing campus of yours that would love to sit down for some good coffee in the library or a so-so meal in the cafeteria to talk about it.  God’s plan is perfect, as is His timing.  He has you at the school you’re going to for a reason and I’m almost jumping out of my skin waiting to find out with you what that reason is!

College freshman, I know there are so many unknowns in your life right now and it might be a bit overwhelming.  But you are at the beginning of an INCREDIBLE adventure!  The next four (or maybe 5.5) years will fly by so I hope that you will soak it all in and enjoy it as much as you can.  Even the tough days.  Because those days will be the ones that define, shape, and mold you into the person you’ll become.  And as hard as it is, I promise that it’s worth it!


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  1. Caroline says:

    I am going into my senior year at Clemson and I couldn’t have said it better myself!

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