Letter to Prospective Students

Dear prospective students,

I love how you huddle together in small tour groups with other overwhelmed prospectives and their panicked parents. You listen to obscure facts rapidly spewing from your guide’s mouth and try to discern which slivers of information make this college more special than any other medium-sized liberal arts college in the mid-Atlantic region.

I love how you cling to these factoids in an attempt to imagine what your soon-to-be-college-freshman life will be like. I love how you won’t truly get the full picture until you’re here, going to class and eating at the dining hall and bonding with your floormates.

I understand that you’re a mess of emotions. You’re annoyed by your parents’ frequent, embarrassing questions about drug culture and the best study spots on campus. You’re stressed by the enormous impending decision you’ll have to make and how to pay for this extreme investment.

But I love that you’re both terrified and eager to move away from home and start your first year as an independent college student.

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Dear prospective students,

I love that you don’t yet know how hard you’ll struggle.

You’ll spend hours in the library, cramming for tests and writing research papers and napping in armchairs on the silent 5th floor. You’ll come to terms with realizing how little some old friendships mattered, and you’ll re-learn how to create new bonds with people. You’ll take care of your roommates when they’re sick and hold them when they cry.

I hope that you’ll get over your fear of talking in class. I hope you don’t feel too overwhelmed by constant reminders of things you “should” be doing: becoming president of every club, applying for jobs and internships and scholarships and grad school, and networking with alumni you’ve never met on LinkedIn.

I love how you don’t yet know how much fun you’ll have.

You’ll get to know people with a million different interests and learn about topics you didn’t know existed. You’ll meet people at parties and at club meetings and in class who you can chat with while walking across campus. You’ll have impromptu dance parties. You’ll explore the town.

You’ll make fun of your friends’ slang, and then acquire their accents. You’ll stay up till 3am with your roommates discussing social justice and how your families are practically duplicates of each other. You’ll celebrate birthdays with your dorm friends. You’ll order calzones for no reason.

Dear prospective students,

I hope your current mess of emotions lead you somewhere you love. Make the most of your next four years and the mess of emotions that come along with college: stress, tears, laughter, and happiness.

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Adapted from Prospective, published April 29, 2014. 

This post is part of my April A to Z Challenge. For more All Things College posts, click here 

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25 thoughts on “Letter to Prospective Students

  1. I love this! Perfect. And, from the perspective of someone who graduated college 20 years ago, you’ll also probably meet the person you’ll marry–I think statistically that has been stated, as well. You’ll learn so many things that have nothing to do with classes–things you’ll take with you as you become a spouse, parent, and employee (or boss!). The friends you have in college often become friends you keep for life.

    Stephanie
    http://stephie5741.blogspot.com

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  2. Your posts are so insightful. My daughter has made the most wonderful friends at college and only kept three of her friends from high school as they all move on and in different directions.

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  3. YES so true. Gosh, prospective student college tours were the best and worst at the same time. (I visited UGA three different times and didn’t like it until the third. (The only time it didn’t rain…))

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  4. I’m really enjoying your theme this month. You have a universal, yet unique view on everything college. Through you I can see that things are very different from when I graduated from college in 1978, yet they are very much the same as they were then!

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  5. Sabina, I seriously wish I could write as well as you. You should consider being a freelance writer along with being a speech pathologist. Seriously. Haha. I’ve especially realized that a lot of things about friends. I’m only friends with two people from my high school, the rest I’m not friends with anymore. And there’s a lot of people I were friends with freshman and sophomore who I’m not friends with anymore. But the good friends stay with you a long time and I know my college friends will be there with me for a long time. Something else I’ve learned is it’s okay to have an internship that you hate or you have a supervisor you don’t like. You may not like those people but they honestly teach you the most. If you don’t hate any internships, you don’t realize the stuff you don’t like and that’s important too. I also to encourage to study abroad and take advantage of schools scholarships to study abroad. Wow I didn’t realize this was so long. :)

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    • I’m actually probably changing my major, but I’ll write more about that later :) I’m not still friends with some of my freshman year friends and most of my high school friends, but my current group is one I expect to have for a long time.

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  6. Great advice. I didn’t think much about my college decision, I just went to the most obvious nearby college that was affordable and lived at home in my parents house. I should have finished that college when it was still inexpensive.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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  7. This is a wonderful post. I never really got this experience because I went in as a transfer student, but I still can relate. I remember all-nighters trying to cram every last bit of Japanese we could get in our skulls, before all passing out on my bed. XD

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