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To Freshmen, From a Senior

August 12, 2019
Victoria Hartman

Written by Victoria Hartman

It feels like just yesterday: stockpiling dorm room items from Target’s Room Essentials line, savoring those last few summer nights I would get to spend with my friends, and hoping college was going to be everything I always dreamed it would be.

My very first semester at Concordia University Texas was three years ago, yet it feels like it could have been last week. There is no feeling quite like that transition period from high school senior to college freshman.

The naivety, the newness in the air, and the sense of transformation are feelings I sometimes wish I could feel again. I have learned so much during my time at CTX, and there are several things that I wish I could go back and tell my freshman self.

If your parents want to stay and help you get your dorm just right, let them. If you want to cry as they pull out of the parking lot on moving day, let yourself.

Go out of your way to hang out in the common areas on campus to meet new people, even though your dorm may feel like your safe place on campus. Put yourself out there. The bonds you build in the first few weeks on campus are unlike any other. There’s a place on campus for everyone, and there are other students just like you who are waiting for a friend like you.

Don’t underestimate yourself, and don’t make your old self a baseline for the person you’re becoming. Before college, I always felt like a disappointment because I wasn’t as involved as some of my peers. Now, I am so involved that sometimes it’s a little overwhelming. As recently as my junior year, I felt like a below-average student at best, and now I earned an internship at a television station in the sports department.

Challenge yourself to grow. Make yourself uncomfortable. “Ease into the discomfort,” as Brene Brown would say. If you feel change and growth stirring up within yourself, don’t let it scare you, and don’t fight it. I am nowhere near the same girl I was when I first got to Concordia, and I’m so thankful for that. I’ve grown into someone who 18-year-old me wouldn’t recognize. Recognize that sometimes, positive growth doesn’t exist without challenges, discomfort, and loss. I have grown in ways that I didn’t know were possible, even if pain and heartache were the driving forces of some of it.

Trust God’s plan. If you have a step-by-step plan for your four years at Concordia, you might as well toss it out. God’s plan is more perfect than any of us could ever imagine. He knows what He is doing, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Watching God’s plan unfold can make you feel helpless, but I can’t count how many times I felt so discouraged when one of my plans got derailed, only for everything to work out way better than how things would have worked the way I wanted them to. “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail” (Proverbs 19:21).

When people say college flies by, they aren’t exaggerating. I am so excited and ready to enter the “real world,” but I would be lying if I said there weren’t times I wish I could go back to the naive freshman I was three years ago, when my only worry was to be first in line at the cafeteria on chicken nugget day.

Freshmen, here’s the bottom line: you are going to blink and suddenly be applying for jobs and picking classes for your senior year. Cherish these years, and don’t let anything or anyone hold you back. Make the most out of your time at Concordia.

You are in control of your experience here, and you’ll get out of it what you put in. Live in the wonderful, confusing, and unpredictable now.

Sincerely, Victoria Hartman