Dear first year me,
First things first: Please, I’m begging you, stop worrying about textbooks.
If I remember correctly, you are unnecessarily stressed right now, panicking about not having everything meticulously prepared for your first week of uni. You have spent too many afternoons (and mornings and nights) over the last month overthinking just about everything.
“Will I get lost? Will I find my classes? Will I have enough space in my notebook for my extensive notes that I most likely will not ever re-read again? Am I using the right ink colour for my notes? Will I get better at socialising and making friends?” Well, let me alleviate your tension and answer some of those questions for you.
Firstly, yes, you are going to get lost. You most likely won’t find all your classes the first day, and maybe you should’ve at least tried to find the buildings during O-week because, well, you suck at directions. Let’s face it, you gave yourself ten minutes to find a class, and now you’re in the middle of some building you’ve never seen before, and you’re late – just like the other 20 people in your class. Heck, you will somehow even manage to end up on the wrong side of campus, but it will be fine. Trust me, it’s not the end of the world, and if I’m honest, getting lost is a pretty good way to make friends.
And in any case, your professors are not going to hate you for all eternity just because you’re a little late, they understand, and they’re used to it. In fact, they probably got lost on their first day too, so chill, you’ll eventually figure out exactly which staircase you need to climb to find your class in the hell-on-earth that is the architecture building.
Secondly, stop stressing about notebooks and pen colours, or taking notes so neatly you never want to touch them again. The ink colour you use is really not important. Only write what you need to, take your notes well, and make sure you understand what the professors are telling you – that is all you need. No one will check if you write in pink or purple or neon green – just pick a pen.
Lastly, you probably won’t get any better at socialising. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to befriend people. Wipe the stress-induced sweat off your palms and shake some hands, or join a club and/or sports group, because you really don’t want to be spending your time alone.
My parting advice to you, which I’m sure you won’t actually listen to, is this: Avoid procrastination like the plague – start your work on time, girl.
And if these tips aren’t enough for you, here is some friendly advice from your soon-to-be friendly co-students:
“Don’t stay at home. If you’re wondering why University is so boring, you are doing it wrong. Your classes and campus are full of wonderful people from all walks of life and you have the opportunity to make life-long friends. Go to that guild event, stay out late in the library, join that society! There’s something for everyone, so look around and if you cannot find it, make it. Best of luck and f*cking go to your classes b*tch why must you be like this.”
“Smoking on campus is softly banned. I’ve smoked behind building 209 (and, to be honest, probably every other building on campus) and the patches of grass on the edge and around campus. But also, smoking is a disgusting habit and a waste of money so I wish first-year me quit while the stress of uni was low comparatively speaking because as the stress builds, the emotional dependency on ciggys becomes so loud…”
“Actually do your readings sometimes, you may be surprised by how interesting some of those chapters and articles are. Even better, if it really gets you going, find more readings on the same matter!”
“It’s more than okay if you’re still not sure of your path/career straight away, you have time. Just the fact that you got into uni is already such a big opportunity to explore and grow over the next few years. Take your time.”
Best of luck,
From your future self.