Dear Baby First Year:
Wow, I don’t recognize you. And, I mean that in the best way possible. You will come so far in your journey through college and will transform into a successful young woman. There’s going to be some hard moments and great moments along the way. Take it all in because that is your college experience: wonderful, trying, and worth it. For the hard moments, here are a few words of advice that I wish I’d known when I was you.
- Work on your roommate skills. You’re not going to be a great roommate at first (#onlychildprobs), but you will be soon. It’s important that you work on and utilize important skills, such as compromise and being considerate in living spaces. Talking to your bestie at 1 am, even when she’s going through her own first-year problems, does not negate the fact your roommate is trying to sleep for her exam the next morning. These skills are also critical when you’re on team projects or co-partnering in jobs. You will build these skills, and you will cringe at your behavior later. It’s all a part of the college transformation.
- Assert yourself. In your academics and budding professional career, you will hold yourself back because of your shyness and feelings of inadequacy. Let it go, right now. It’s ok that you don’t have some widely recognized accomplishment before college or that you haven’t studied advanced materials. You will. You’re an intelligent person with great contributions to the world. If you don’t understand something at that moment, you will learn to assert yourself by asking questions and will work hard to understand. Don’t let false feelings of inadequacy and temporary lack of knowledge prevent you from displaying your true wealth of knowledge.
- Your future won’t be what you always envisioned—it’ll be better. College is all about trying new things, putting yourself out there, and seeing what you really enjoy. You’ll find that your five-year plan will be hurled out the window, like from a speeding car, never to be seen again. While “first-year” you has it all figured out, six months from now, you definitely will not have it all figured out. But, that class you took for a distribution requirement might be something that you not only enjoy, but something for which you’ll develop a passion, and it will inspire you to completely change your career focus.
Ellice Patterson is a recent graduate of Wellesley College! As a biology major, her research endeavors have taken her across different biological disciplines and across the world. From sailing across the Atlantic studying primary production in relation to nutrient concentrations to trekking in the Costa Rican rainforests analyzing spider species composition, she has done it all. Outside of science, she teaches ballet and contemporary at her local dance studio, continues growing as a dancer, and mentors children at her local church. In general, she slays. All day.