Dear Little Sister,

Seventeen years ago, when you were just a baby, you joined our parents as they dropped me off at college for the very first time.  Now it’s your turn.  In just a few short weeks, you will pack a set of XL Twin sheets, a shower caddy and flip-flops, and a Caboodle full of makeup (oh wait, that was me). and move in to your very own shoebox-sized dorm room.  This time I will be the one saying goodbye.

You are about to have the most exciting, horrifying, exhilarating, exhausting four (maybe five, but hopefully not six) years of your life.  And because I’m just your older sister, and not your mom, here are the Top Ten Things Every College Girl Needs To Know About Freshman Year:

1. Eat Cereal.  Two words: Meal Plan.  Staying up all night partying studying makes you hungry, and the cafeteria is like an all-day-long Vegas buffet.  That someone else paid for.  Without the crab legs.  The best part?  An entire row of cereal options, neatly packed into cool dispensers.  You can have Fruit Loops and Rice Krispies for dinner one night, and grilled cheese and French fries the next.  You don’t have to eat a single vegetable for the rest of your life if you don’t want to.  And this may be the last time for a while that someone cooks for you.  Eat the cereal.  Order the fries.

2. Your Body Is Perfect  Go look in the mirror.  You are stunning.  Look at your smile, and the way that clothes fall across your body.  Your boobs at 18 are the best that they’ll ever be (No really.  Take my word for it).  Embrace the uniqueness of you.  Your body is strong, your body is healthy, and your body will carry you through the adult years to come.  And it’s probably as fit/thin/smooth as it’s ever going to be, because you’re 18 years old.  So seriously.  Eat the cereal.  Wear a bathing suit.  Be proud of your best self.  It only goes downhill from here.

3. Find Your People  Are you a dancer?  A feminist?  An introvert? A scientist? Freshman year is about reaching down into your gut and pulling out the things that you like the most about yourself.  Once you’ve discovered all of your best parts, find the people who mirror you.  Find a confidante.  Find a mentor.  Find your place.

4. Everyone Wants To Go Home at Christmas Break (and never come back) Suddenly it will be December.  You’ll have eaten a lot of cereal.  You’ve been trying to find your people.  You’ll be tired, and homesick, and your high school friends will FaceBook you and you’ll all reminisce about how much better things were “at home”.  Then you get home, and you realize that you’ve changed, but everyone else has stayed the same.  All it takes is a few weeks in your old bedroom, in your old routine, to realize that the true opportunity lies in your new beginnings.  Be the one who “gets out”.  Be the one who succeeds.  You will feel brave for leaving home, and you will head back to school determined to let it change you.

5. Don’t Drink the Punch Boys take a class in college called “How To Disguise Booze So That Chicks Will Drink It”.  If it tastes like it came from a Slurpee machine, then it was made by a boy who wants to get in your pants.  If it comes from the pour spout of a cooler, it was made by a boy who wants to get in your pants.  If it’s electric blue, or lime green, or frozen into bright red popsicles, say “No thanks”.  Similarly…. don’t take the Jell-O shots.  And don’t smoke anything out of a bong that you haven’t personally packed.



One Reply to “The Truth About Freshman Year”

  1. I just wanted to let you know that I loved your story. I realize I’m not your mother, but I’m so very very proud of you for reaching out and overcoming so many obsticles in your life. It warms my heart and I just needed you to know that

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