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A Love Letter to My Freshman Year

Dear Freshman Year,

It’s hard for me to believe that in just one month you will no longer be a part of my life. You’ve come and gone faster than I could bat an eye, and when I look back to the beginning of you, I barely recognize myself. If I ever reverted back to the person I was before I met you, I would beg someone to snap me out of it. You’ve changed my life, and the thought of letting you go has me tearing up, even now, but I know that you’ve opened so many doors for me that will continue to help guide my years in college.

You’ve given me opportunities

Not only opportunities academically, but in almost every other aspect of my life as well. You’ve shown me that there are ways to publish the words I write, you’ve offered me jobs that have greatly influenced my ability to tolerate small children, and you’ve placed people in my life that have allowed me to act as a mentor, and to be mentored as well. I’ve grown in my abilities to communicate, tolerate, and understand my surroundings and the people who I encounter. You put me outside of my comfort zone more times than I care to admit, but, looking back from hindsight, those are the moments that I grew the most.

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You’ve placed my best friends into my life

You managed to put the three people I needed the most in the same room as me in all of the possible dorms at Missouri State, and for that I could not begin to thank you enough. You’ve allowed me to make new, strong, and dependent friendships, and I would take a bullet for the three girls you placed in my immediate vicinity. I will forever be grateful that I don’t have a “typical freshman year roommate” story. I know that it was not an accident that the four of us were placed in each other’s lives, and I can imagine all of them in mine far into the future. I mean, seriously, freshman year, you gave me future bridesmaid friends. How did you manage that?

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You’ve shown me why high school wasn’t the end

This may not seem important to you, freshman year, but it’s so important to me. I was terrified of you, even hoping that I would never have to let you impact my life, before I graduated high school. You made me uncomfortable, and apprehensive, and sad. The first few months that I was getting to know you, I so desperately wanted to rewind and go back to my life in high school. I wanted my friends, my teachers, my dog, my own bed, and so many other things that I had to learn to live without. You stuck with me though, and you continually proved to me that life beyond high school is more beautiful than I could have imagined. Thank you. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be okay when I first met you.

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You’ve forced me to take responsibility

Whether it was with chores I had to do around the dorm room, working the job that robbed me of my Saturday mornings, or figuring out how to get a paper written in two hours, you pushed me to hold myself accountable. I now can’t stand a sink full of dirty dishes, I learned how to do my own laundry, and I even occasionally make my bed because of you. I’ve gone to the doctor alone, bought my own gas, and filled out paperwork without my mom there holding my hand, and I have you to thank for that. You let me figure out how to live on my own, and while it’s been hard at times, you’ve also made it a heck of a lot of fun.

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You taught me that there are more important things than my grades

I still hold myself to a very high standard when it comes to my grades, but I don’t cry anymore when I get a B. You’ve helped me cope when I’ve done bad on tests, and you’ve reminded me that, in the long run, it’s not going to hurt me as bad as I think it will. You’ve proven to me that it’s possible to pick myself back up and try harder throughout a semester to achieve the grade I desire. Not only that, but you’ve let me know that it’s okay to take a break every once in a while, that if I’m tired I should go to bed and finish my homework in the morning, and to just take a deep breath. If I had faced some of the academic catastrophes from this year when I was in high school, let’s just say I wouldn’t have handled it as well as I now know I can. Thanks, freshman year.

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You’ve taught me lessons

Mending friendships. Moving on. Living intentionally for Christ. All of these are lessons you handed me during my time with you. You helped me notice burdens in my heart, and I did everything in my power to rid myself of them. You gave me days that I didn’t want to keep pushing through, but I did. I did, and I’m better for it. You pointed out to me that the mistakes in my life didn’t have to stay mistakes. You gave me people who will help me every step of the way if I’m struggling, and I’ve learned that life is better that way. You’ve proven time and time again that I can’t do this alone, and that’s how it is supposed to be.

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You’ve helped me find a new home within my old home

Even though I’m just a short seven mile drive from my house, you’ve allowed me to grow and create a new life on campus. I’ve found solace in the fountain by the library, watching the sunset from my 8th floor window, and taking late night strolls with the people I have come to love in just nine short months. You’ve helped me discover that home is not a place, but a feeling. Because of you, I find little pieces of home everywhere I go, and I have a really good feeling that the pieces I’ve found this year will make me feel at home for many years to come. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Freshman year, you’ve changed me for the better. Getting to know you has been one of the best parts of my life so far, and I want you to know that I’m grateful for every up and down that you gave me this year. I’ll miss you so unbelievably much, but I’ll hold everything you did for me close to my heart forever.

I love you dearly,

Lauren

 

By laurenstockam

Lauren is graduate student at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO.

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