Advertising
Advertising

A Letter to My Freshman Year Self

A Letter to My Freshman Year Self

A Letter to My Freshman Year Self

Dear Freshman Alissa,

As I write this, we’re getting ready to graduate. Yup, we’re actually going to do this. Imagine you, young Alyssa, “adulating” all over the place. But before I don our cap and gown, I wanted to take a few minutes to go back and share some things that I think you need to know. To be honest, we could have been more prepared for this college life, but fortunately, it’s not too late.

Advertising

We had a good run at these four years. Ultimately, I have no regrets. But whenever we reflect on any time in our lives, it’s natural to realize how we could have done things better. For me, this is one of those times. Having been through it and knowing what I know now, I feel I have some wisdom that I can impart to you.

  1. Go easy on the binge drinking

We’ve heard the cautionary tales too many times to count, but I can say with confidence that there’s merit to them. I know, you’re not the only one. A whopping 35% of college students binge drink. I’m just saying that you may want to find some other ways to have fun. You know, ways that won’t end with you waking up in a strange place with no recollection of how you got there.

  1. Nothing beats a classroom experience

Next semester, you’ll be tempted to take one of your classes online so you can sleep later. If you do this, understand that there is a tradeoff. There are benefits to taking classes online (flexibility is one of them), but you will miss the lectures. It’s a crazy thought, I know. But there’s something about sitting face-to-face with someone that helps enhance learning. If you do take that online course, spend some time getting to know your instructors to maximize your experience. It won’t exactly replicate the classroom, but it’ll help make things more personal.

Advertising

  1. Join a club or activity

If you’re still thinking that binge drinking is an activity, go back and reread number one. We were all about the extracurriculars when they helped us get into college, but it was too easy to get wrapped up in the college life and let these things fall by the wayside. You should know that some of the same benefits apply to joining clubs in college as they do in high school. As a refresher, these include higher attendance rates, a higher GPA and better math scores. Gooo team!

  1. Don’t toss the syllabus

It’s so tempting to throw the syllabus in the trash or stash it in a pile that will never see the light of day. After all, that’s what we did throughout high school. Well, this isn’t high school. And the syllabus has information that you’ll need to reference throughout the semester. Don’t be that student who never knows what’s going on.

  1. Call home more often

At first, college will feel a bit like a vacation from the parents. This is completely normal, and it’s healthy to learn how to spread your wings. Just remember that these are people who will always be in your corner, no matter what. Don’t take those care packages and weekly Skype sessions for granted. There will come a time (or twelve) when you need these things more than you’d ever be willing to admit.

Advertising

And now you’re ready to start crushing on that boy across the hall (it’s a good move, so go for this one). There are so many great experiences ahead of you that I wish I could relive. Enjoy every minute of them! And now that you know all I know, you’re poised to make the most out of your freshman year.

Good luck and have the time of your life!

Sincerely,

Advertising

Future Alissa

More by this author

A Letter to My Freshman Year Self 7 Unconventional and Inexpensive Ways to See the World 6 Ways Traveling Can Benefit Your Career

Trending in 20-Something

1 One Solid Practice for Tackling Low Self-Esteem 2 If You Want To Get Help From Others Easily, Remember To Avoid This Mistake 3 7 Tools to Optimize Your Next Long-Term Traveling Experience 4 How To Go Through College And Stay Sane 5 The Battle Of The Voices In My Head

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 23, 2019

30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

The greatest books are defined as classics for a reason. Written by the greatest literary minds of their time, they have universal themes, characters, experiences, emotions and perspectives that are still relevant today. Some of them are the very inspiration from which entire modern genres of literary fiction have sprung up from.

If you love reading, here’s a perfect reading list for you. Even if you aren’t so much into reading, here’re 10 reasons to love reading.

Everyone should read at least once for these 30 books — some are well known classics, others are modern giants.  All are well worth reading at least once in your life!

1. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

50-anniversary-cover1

    Published in 1960, this timeless classic explores human behaviour and the collective conscience of The Deep South in the early 20th century. Humour entwines the delicate strands of prejudice, hatred, hypocrisy, love and innocence to create one of the best novels ever written.

    Print | eBook | Audiobook

    2. 1984, by George Orwell

    1984

      Although 1984 has passed us by, George Orwell’s dystopian, totalitarian world of control, fear and lies has never been more relevant. Delve into the life of Winston Smith as he struggles with his developing human nature in a world where individuality, freewill and love are forbidden.

      Print | eBook | Audiobook

      3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling

      harry_potter_and_the_Sorcerers_stone_adult_usa

        I’m willing to bet you’ve heard of Harry Potter, but have you read the books? Join Harry Potter as he begins his journey into the world of magic, where he is the celebrated Boy Who Lived. Visit Hogwarts, meet your favourite characters and watch Harry grow into the one of the most famous literary characters in the world.

        Print | eBook | Audiobook

        4. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

        9780618640157_custom-s6-c30

          Middle Earth is a wonderful, expansive fantasy world filled with turmoil, heroes, evil and innocence. Although our protagonist Frodo Baggins’ quest seems impossible to complete, this trilogy is a tale of triumph in the most impossible circumstances.

          Print | eBook | Audiobook

          5. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

          Penguin-2

            Published in 1925, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby explores the decadence of the Jazz Age, and one man’s introduction into a world where even those with the most indulgent lives cannot earn love.

            Print | eBook | Audiobook

            6. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

            pride_and_prejudice_book_cover_by_fourblackbirds-d533108

              One of the most famous novels of all time, Pride And Prejudice details the courtship of two opposed characters in a world where manners and courtesy are of the utmost importance.

              Advertising

              Print | eBook | Audiobook

              7. The Diary Of A Young Girl, by Anne Frank

              diary-of-anne-frank-postcard-front_0

                Unforgettable and deeply influential, Anne Frank’s diary is a raw account of a young girl’s life as she hides from the Nazis. Despite her circumstances, Anne believes that people are still good at heart and that the world is full of beauty: she will change your life.

                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                8. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

                71h2sjik5al-_sl1380_

                  Set in Germany during 1939, The Book Thief follows Liesel as she rescues books from the tyranny of Nazi rule. Meanwhile, her family has hidden a Jewish fighter in their basement and death looks down on the family, narrating our tale. Experience bravery that is rarely found in the world, and friendship that is formed in the most unlikely of situations.

                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                  9. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

                  Hobbit_book

                    Although the movies are inexplicably long, The Hobbit was originally written as a short children’s book. Meet your favourite characters for the first time as the unforgettable Bilbo Baggins traverses the harsh landscapes of Middle Earth to challenge a dragon.

                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                    10. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

                    9780147514011

                      Join four sisters, each with their own prominent personality, as they come of age in charming 19th Century New England. Experience their struggles and revel in their flaws, as these girls become strong women.

                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                      11. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

                      tumblr_nd4wnpO3ZS1tv8vcro1_r1_1280

                        Books are forbidden, and it is our main character Guy Montag’s job to burn any books he comes across. Often compared to George Orwell’s 1984, Ray Bradbury’s dystopian world is an unsettling commentary on Western societies’ addiction and dependence on the media and conformity.

                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                        12. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

                        cvr9781416500247_9781416500247_hr

                          Arguably one of the most influential fictional heroines of all time, Jane Eyre is a strong, unbroken women despite her troubled childhood and repressed Victorian society.
                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                          13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

                          Advertising

                          Print

                            This famous 1945 satire, examines the realistic risks of revolution and the dynamics animals will inevitably give in to.

                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                            14. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

                            gone-with-the-wind

                              Set in The South during The Civil War, chances are if you love the movie you’ll love the book. Although the main character and the world she lives in is loathsome, readers’ opinions are twisted as this novel dishes out a fated justice when both Scarlett and The South lose their wars.

                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                              15. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

                              97803167694881

                                Starring the original cynical adolescent, The Catcher In The Rye explores the challenges and isolation of adolescence. Decipher your own message as you follow sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield, in this novel that has split audiences for decades.

                                PrintAudiobook

                                16. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White

                                image_35

                                  Team up with Charlotte, a loving and generous spider, and Fern, a farmers daughter as they try to save Wilbur the piglet from becoming breakfast. Charlotte’s Web is a compelling reminder to bask in the simplistic wonders of everyday life, and to be kind to all living creatures.

                                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                  17. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

                                  il_fullxfull.346024210

                                    Another renowned fantasy world, Narnia is the home of hundreds of magnificent creatures each with their own origins, morals and ideals. Let you imagination run wild as you enter the wardrobe and meet some of the most famous literary characters in history.

                                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                    18. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

                                    9780141185064

                                      Published in 1939, this novel set during The Great Depression follows one Oklahoma family as they are forced to travel to California. Experience America in a tale where it’s people are divided into the haves and have-nots, the powerful and the powerless.

                                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                      19. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

                                      previous_Lord_of_the_Flies

                                        This classic novel follows the lives of boys marooned on an island as they regress into savages; and their beautiful, enjoyable island existence collapses into a primitive and cruel nightmare.

                                        Advertising

                                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                        20. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

                                        kiterunner

                                          A story of true friendship, The Kite Runner follows Amir as he tries to find the only true friend he’s ever had – despite abandoning him due to ethnic and religious differences that were prominent in Kabul, Afghanistan.

                                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                          21. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

                                          bookcover2

                                            Of Mice And Men is a complex story of a friendship between two migrant workers: George Milton and Lennie Small, in California. Watch their friendship develop as the pair work towards their modest dreams of owning their own land and pets.

                                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                            22. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

                                            twocities

                                              Following eighteen years as a political prisoner, Dr Manette is released and returns to England with his daughter Lucie. There, two very different men fall in love with Lucie and become entwined in a tale of love and sacrifice.

                                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                              23. Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare

                                              cvr9781451621709_9781451621709_hr

                                                Perhaps the most famous love story ever written, Romeo and Juliet is an epic tragedy that explores the euphoria of desire and the tragedy of revenge.

                                                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                24. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

                                                h2g2-01 copy

                                                  Grab a towel and accompany human Arthur Dent on a fantastic adventure across the galaxy. Learn not to take the universe so seriously and forget any meaning you’ve applied to anything in your life, because we all know the real meaning of life is 42.

                                                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                  25. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

                                                  216215

                                                    Published in 1847, this passionate and harrowing story of love, rivalry and revenge follows Catherine Earnshaw and her father’s adopted foundling Heathcliff as they grow into very different adults.

                                                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                    Advertising

                                                    26. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

                                                    purple

                                                      Winner of multiple awards, The Color Purple is a devastating tale that tackles the lives of colored women in 1930s USA. Censored and challenged, the harsh reality displayed in The Color Purple will leave you shaken.

                                                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                      27. Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

                                                      alice_cover

                                                        Bizarre and curious, Alice In Wonderland explores the potential of imagination and the reality of fiction. If you’re a fan of escaping the real world, this is definitely the book for you.

                                                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                        28. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

                                                        frankenstein_book_cover_by_mario0357-d6rszr0

                                                          A combination of gothic thriller, cautionary tale and romance novel, Frankenstein is a story like no other. Written by Mary Shelley when she was just eighteen, Frankenstein prompts readers to ask themselves some truly shattering questions: what makes us human? What do we owe to one another as living creatures? How far can science push the boundaries of nature?

                                                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                          29. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

                                                          Huck-Fin

                                                            Often titled The Great American Novel, The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn is a deep and complex tale of friendship, adolescence and shifting societal norms.

                                                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                            30. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

                                                            9780385333849_custom-s6-c30

                                                              Although Vonnegut himself admits there are few characters or confrontations in this book, the impact of his novel is undeniable.

                                                              We travel through life with our protagonist Billy Pilgrim as he experiences World War II from a rather unique perspective – that is, he’s been abducted from his home planet of Tralfamadore. Rich and deeply funny, this tale aims to discourage us from war and murder that the authorities force the public into.

                                                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                              Featured photo credit: Prasanna Kumar via unsplash.com

                                                              Read Next