Dear Freshman Year Annie
So you finally chose Cornell — congrats! Now please, for the love of GOD, get off of College Confidential and go enjoy your last few weeks of fun before the craziest four years of your life begins.
Nowadays, I like to think of graduation not as the last day of school, but rather the first day of our future. And as I’m departing the end of my beginning, I’d like to compose some advice for you, my past self, so that maybe in an alternate parallel dimension where time travel is possible, you get to live out college to the best of your abilities.
On Making Friends
I know you feel like it’s difficult to make new friends, but never allow yourself to feel too comfortable. College is the time to push yourself to the limit, academically and socially. Sometimes you’ll be sitting at lunch with your friend group, having a great time, and you’ll feel like you’re all set. These are the friends you’ll be graduating with, you think. But a lot can change in four years, and there are over 14,000 amazing students on this one campus. Get your butt out of bed and meet some new people.
It’s a part of life: friends will come and go. You’ll meet people abroad, and then lose touch. You’ll feel like you really got along with that one girl in your group project sophomore year, but now you don’t even say hi to each other on the street. You thought you’d become best friends with your roommate, but now you just get lunch every few weeks. And that’s ok.
But remember this: the ones who stayed are the ones you should never let go.
Waking up will be the worst part. Because in the few seconds that you regain consciousness, the world is still fuzzy and warm and safe. But then realization bolts around the corner and punches you in the stomach, you double over, and you wonder if it’s worth it to ever leave your bed again.
“And this too shall pass.”
Remember this quote. It is human nature to move forward as you gain more experiences. Past grievances become small and insignificant — everyone will eventually move on from everything: there are just too many good people on this planet, too many amazing places to be, too many new things to try than to dig yourself into a pit of sadness. Please don’t take anything too personally.
Take some deep breaths. Talk to your friends. Read that one book you’ve been meaning to check out at the library. Go sit on the slope and watch the sunset. You’ll feel like you’ll never move on from him, but sweetie I promise you: I’m sitting here four years later. And I’ve moved on.
On Social Class
I played a game freshman year, where I would switch up my hometown at parties. I would tell some that I was from Missouri (where I went to high school), and others that I was from Connecticut (where I currently live). The difference in their reactions was remarkable.
Cornellians are prestige whores; it is what it is. You’re going to meet people of all kinds of backgrounds in your four years on this campus, and that’s an amazing opportunity few are able to get. Just remember what your mother told you — you are not better than anyone else, and no one is better than you. No matter how hard some people/organizations try to force you to think otherwise.
On Getting Involved on Campus
My #1 biggest regret, not getting more involved on campus.
Don’t be afraid to try new things! College is not just studying and partying, despite what you see in the movies. Go to clubfest, sign up for everything, and ACTUALLY GO to at least a few. I know you just want to crawl back to your room after a long day or hang out with your friends, but please stick with it — it’ll be good for you in the long run.
On Maintaining a Good Work Ethic
You’ll get to this school and feel intimidated by how smart everyone is. But trust me, the majority of the student population at Cornell are around the same level of intelligence. What really sets students apart is their work ethic.
That one guy in your math class who keeps having to explain the answer to you? He probably started on the problem set the day it came out. Don’t wait until the last minute to do things, because after you do that once, it becomes a habit.
Go to class dude.
Don’t Overthink, Don’t Overplan. Just do it.
Life isn’t supposed to be a still life — carefully crafted and planned beauty. It’s meant to be a masterpiece. Unexpected. Insightful. Bold. Thrilling. Adventurous. Crazy, yet when you take it all in, it just makes sense. Like it’s exactly how it was meant to turn out all along.
You can’t appeal to everyone. As Will Ferrel said in his commencement address at USC earlier this year, “Some people will think I’m annoying. Some people will not think I’m funny. And that’s ok.”
Bought a Last Call ticket, but no friends are going? Go by yourself. Run into that one girl who you’ve always wanted to be friends with, but you only talked once so you don’t know if it’d be weird to say hi? SAY HI YOU IDIOT. Make eye contact with your cute wines TA at a party? Introduce yourself. Intern friends invite you to a last-minute happy hour, but you’re still at the office fixing a bug? Gurl just go. That company was shit anyway.
Life is unexpected, almost nothing goes as planned.
But don’t be scared, or else you’ll miss out on all of the best parts.
Do whatever it takes to make yourself happy. Be the person you’ve always dreamed of being. And with that — welcome to Cornell.
Originally published at mappingtheconstellations.com on May 19, 2017.