Whether you are coming to the Capstone from two hours down I-65 or two thousand miles across the country, beginning your collegiate experience casts certain anxieties on anyone and everyone. As we begin another school year dive back into ‘life as normal,’ a couple of our members took time to reflect on just how far they have come since their freshman year. Psi chapter is praying for the incredible journey you are just beginning to embark.
An Open Letter to Myself During Freshman Year
By Graci Gilliland
I want to begin by saying a huge thank you to our chapter chaplain Leah Varnell who has selflessly poured into our members through chapter and our weekly bible studies, just to name a couple of ways. She has taught me a significant amount of what I included in this letter. I hope that by reading this, you can learn from what Jesus has shown me throughout my first year of college. All of the glory be to Him.
Dear Freshman Self,
This year is going to be full of ups and downs like no other. I know you have been eagerly awaiting this new beginning while simultaneously dreading saying goodbye to your childhood home, your parents, and your best friends. This year is going to challenge you, grow you, and bring you so much joy all at the same time.
The first semester.
So many new things. You will be busy. You will be tired. You will be stressed. You will have so much fun. You will need to find a balance between saying "yes" and knowing when to say "no." However, push yourself out of your comfort zone. Do not let fear be the reason you say "no." When a classmate or sorority sister you barely know asks to go get coffee, and you are afraid it will be awkward, say "yes" anyway. When your roommate asks you to go get Insomnia cookies at midnight, but you are already in bed, say "yes" anyway. Cherish these little moments. When the time comes, and you do need to say "no," remember that Jesus himself invites you to find true rest in Him.
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Do not force them. You are probably not going to find your best friends during the first week of school. It takes time. Invite random people to hang out or get dinner. Everyone is feeling the same lost feeling that you are. Remember that Instagram is just a highlight reel. Do not get discouraged if you do not find your people on day one. You will find them. Just keep putting yourself out there. Whenever you leave from spending time with people and feel refreshed and encouraged, keep those people. Whenever you leave and feel drained because you felt the need to be someone you are not, stray away from those people. Because the saying "Show me your five closest friends, and I will show you your future." has proven to be true.
"Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals."'
1 Corinthians 15:33
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."
1 Thessalonians 5:11
There will be so many opportunities for you to get plugged in on campus, in your sorority, and at your church. Get involved. Even if you do not think you will get the position, apply anyway because you might be surprised. With that being said, remember that your true worth is not found in your successes, the number of invitations you get to events, your grades, the number of friends you have, or your clothing size. Life is about so much more than your accomplishments and comparison to those around you. Do not live your life constantly comparing yourself to others. It will suck the joy out of it. Live the life that God has called you to. Not the life he has called your friend to. Your Heavenly Father is the only one who can truly define and satisfy you.
"For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water."
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."
"Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches."
1 Corinthians 7:17
Be Transparent and Vulnerable.
Be honest. You do not have to maintain the act of being perfect. It is exhausting, and the truth is you are not perfect. Being vulnerable and open about your struggles with friends allows true and meaningful friendships to be built. On the other hand, Jesus wants to hear from you all of the time. Yes, even when you mess up. When you have slipped up, you are going to feel like you must run from God and not tell him. He already knows. He knows, and he is welcoming you back to Him with open arms.
'But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.'
2 Corinthians 12:9
Like I said earlier, you are going to be busy. Do not get too busy to call your parents, grandparents, and other important people in your life. They miss you so much, and you never know when it could be the last time that you get to talk to them. Check in on your high school friends; they are most likely feeling the same freshman year feelings that you are.
Above all, keep your relationship with Jesus as your first priority, and you will be just fine. Stay in the present. Enjoy every single moment and every single day. Trust me; there are amazing things in store for you.
Your Future Self
An Open Letter to Myself During Freshman Year
By Claire Yates
Dear incoming freshman self,
You are in for a wild ride! College will hands down be the best four years of your life. I have only been in college for two years, and WOW! What a fun and amazing time it has been. When I was coming into college, I remember feeling like a lost puppy dog. I had no idea what to expect, yet, I was still so excited for what was yet to come. My advice for you, incoming freshman self, is to go into college with an open mind! Be ready to have so many opportunities laid out right in front of you, and take them!
Freshman year is a time to step out of your comfort zone, meet new people, find new interests or hobbies, and learn more about yourself. So be open-minded to trying new things because you never know what joy and knowledge could come out of it! I joined a sorority, the club gymnastics team, became a Crimson White writer, and joined a few honor societies. I have met so many great people that I now call my best friends... maybe even my future bridesmaids! If there is anything you are just slightly interested in, GO FOR IT!!! You could have the time of your life! Another piece of advice I have for you is to never compare yourself to others. It’s easy to walk around campus and want to compare yourself with others by looks, opportunities, accomplishments, and so much more, but you have to remember that YOU are YOU!!! Be confident with that! There is no one else that you are supposed to be. Be yourself, and you will end up right where you belong! When I went through rush, I constantly compared myself to other girls who knew so much about the rush process when I knew nothing about it. Being from out-of-state, I really had no idea what I was doing regarding rush, so I fell behind and was comparing my lack of knowledge to girls that were very knowledgeable. Don’t do that!!! It does not matter where you are from, what you know about a house, what you look like, or maybe even that small stutter you may have had while talking to someone, but instead, your heart is what matters! Whichever house you decide to go, know that you belong there and follow your heart! The house you decide to go will see your heart and watch you shine. Everything happens for a reason, so don’t compare yourself to others or worry because you already know in the long run, you are right where you are meant to be! Needless to say, Greek life at UA is absolutely incredible, and I know you will have a blast. Lastly, be ready to truly find yourself. We all go through changes physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and that’s normal! College is a time to not only pursue a degree or make friends but also to develop as a person. I have learned that I like to be independent but still like to hang out with a big group of people. I like to keep my straight A’s, but I still like to go out with my friends. I like to be busy, but I also like to have times where I can lounge on TikTok. There are so many small things that I have learned about myself that have shaped me into the young woman I am today. I found that college will make you develop a better relationship with yourself! If you feel like you are changing or you are doing something you are not used to doing, know that that is just a step closer for you to be able to find yourself even more! It can be hard to grasp, but accept that change can be good!!!
As long as you are happy and confident, that’s all that matters! With being open-minded, confident,
you will find happiness within that, and that is something to be excited for! I have grown so much in only two years, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me next. You will grow so much too! Trust His timing, be patient, be authentic, and be YOU! You are the best version of yourself, and if you don’t understand that now, you will soon by connecting with yourself more throughout your college years. With that being said, you will THRIVE, and I cannot wait to see what you accomplish next. Now, buckle up and be ready to go on the literal RIDE OF YOUR LIFE! I cannot say this enough. It is SO much fun!!! I’m praying for nothing but success, comfort, and happiness for you <3
“In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”