Written by Rob Nagus

Dear First Year Me,

I know you are both simultaneously excited and nervous- it’s finally about to happen. You’ve heard from friends and siblings, you’ve watched all the classic college movies, you’ve dreamed of this for years and now it is finally here. You are off to university. Take a second, breathe, and consider the following advice from yourself in the future. Let the following suggestions inform you on this amazing journey.

  1. Don’t skip Frosh Week. Yes, an extra week of summer sounds good, but in reality you are going to miss out on a fundamental university experience and you will start off one step behind your peers. All the clubs are there. All the signature cheers and campus traditions are on display. There are people handing out free food and excited to tell you all about the things they are into. You will meet people, find out which extracurriculars sound cool, and get a decent layout of the actual campus. Do not miss it! 
  2. Get involved soon! Don’t wait to pick your activities- be adventurous, try new things and go for it. Get that campus radio show by volunteering at the station, start writing stuff and submitting it to the newspaper, get involved in student government. If you don’t like it, you can try something else. But if you don’t try, you’ll never know. 
  3. Talk to professors. Do not be scared of them. Most professors actually want to engage with students. If you show genuine interest in the material, they will most likely show genuine interest in you. If you really want to make the most of your educational opportunities, get to know your professors and it’ll help you tremendously. 
  4. Know where to find help. Listen, there will be moments that are hard. That is true of anything worthwhile. You will get stressed once in a while. You will be overwhelmed at some point but you must know you are not alone. Everyone goes through this and there is a lot of support if you know where to look. Academic advisors, mental health professionals, career coaching, Hillel professionals with a listening ear- it is all available to you on campus. Do your homework, find out what is out there and don’t be scared to use it. 
  5. Go to Hillel. As you explore the epic diversity of university life, meet new people, and learn about new traditions and cultures, don’t forget to engage and share your own! University is a place where we all learn and share with each other. Hillel can help you do that. Also, you need to eat proper food, so do yourself a favour and go to a shabbat dinner every once in a while.

Work hard, stay safe and have fun. These are going to be some of the best years of your life, so do it right and enjoy them as much as you can.

Yourself (in the future)

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