Ode To Freshman Accomplishment - A Pep Talk

By Hanna Inoue on August 21, 2012

During my senior year of high school, our Contemporary Literature and Composition class was asked the following question:

What is the high school student’s greatest fear?

My answer to that was:

The high school student’s greatest fear cannot be one thing. Everybody’s fears are different, whether it be failing school, stage fright, knowing nothing on a test, etc. Some teens are afraid of never being accepted in society, some are afraid of abandonment or loneliness, and others may be scared of other teens—bullies, to be specific. For many teens, growing up could be a fear. Collectively, however, there is probably not one single identical fear amongst all high school students. There are many fears, some sillier than others. The spectrum of human fears is vast, and it’s the same with high school students, so there cannot be just one answer.

Reflecting back on this as a university freshman, I recall all of the fears and worries I’ve had since I first started filling out college applications. All of the anxiety, stress, tears, sweat, and even nausea felt between the applying process and the acceptance procedures seems like it could attack me once again, even though I am a week or less away from moving into a new apartment with a new roommate, and extremely close to starting my new classes. Like those nightmares of failing an exam you’ve had during high school, the scary process of getting into college doesn’t quite leave your subconscious.

But once you’ve been accepted into a college or university you really want to go to, a whole new process begins: the goodbyes. If your friends are off to different colleges and universities, then you have to prepare yourself for the inescapable goodbyes, hugs, and tears. Same goes for family members, if you’re living away from them. It is not easy to let go those who you care about the most, but in pursuit of your future, sometimes sacrifices have to be made.  The most important thing for any budding human to understand is that they are the leaders of their own lives, and that they have to do what they believe is best—not what others want them to do.

Those who are no longer freshman should be proud of all they have accomplished to get into their current college or university. There were so many important deadlines to be breached, a lot of stomach falls when you had a slip-up, and happy dances when you got heard back from where you wanted to go. The process is momentous, as is the resulting separation from friends and family. I’m sure that not everyone had a tearful goodbye with their acquaintances, but for the ones that did, it was probably hard to let go. The fears sometimes overwhelmed us, but getting through the struggles is all a part of stepping up as an adult.

Current students about to walk into their new school for the first time and start college classes should be proud. The path to college was definitely not easy, and the outcome was definitely worth the difficulties. Despite all the fears that swamped us during the application and acceptance process, we’ve all managed to come this far, and that in itself is a huge accomplishment.

So kudos to all of you starting college for the first time. You’ve come a long way.

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