Dear Class of 2019,
If you’re reading this now, many of you have recently found out you got accepted to JMU. Congratulations! At this point, three years ago I was absolutely terrified. I felt like everyone wanted to go to college and I for one was not looking forward to it. College did not seem appealing to me at all. The idea of sharing a room with a stranger sounded awful and leaving my friends I’d known forever sounded even worse. The day my parents dropped me off at JMU they took me to Shoney’s for dinner and I cried. Right in the middle of Shoney’s. It’s really embarrassing to think back about it now, but going to college made me feel so alone. I didn’t know anyone. No one from my high school class was attending JMU (small town girl here). Basically, it felt like my parents just dropped me off in the middle of the mountains.
So if you don’t feel excited and are wondering what’s wrong with you, I’m here to tell you. Nothing is wrong with you. I felt the exact same way. I didn’t think I’d fit in at JMU at all. Everyone on the tours seemed so chipper and when I came to school initially it seemed like everyone was head-over-heels excited to be at school.
It didn’t help that I was going to a different college than my boyfriend. Like many freshmen, my boyfriend in high school was going to a different college than me two hours away. It seemed like it would be the end of our relationship.
Three years later, we’re still together. Many people are going to tell you it’s impossible, others are going to tell you to start anew, and some relationships will ultimately end. The point is that every relationship is different and only you can be the judge of it. If you want to see your significant other and are a freshman in need of a car, try Zimride, the Facebook group, JMU Rides, or find someone who also has a boyfriend or girlfriend who goes to that school. You’ll be surprised by the number of couples that have a significant other at the same school as the one where yours is.
Ultimately, freshmen year is probably going to be the hardest. I’m going to let you in on a secret though. Even the people who are super excited and seem like they’re having the time of their life are feeling the same emotions. Once the initial excitement wears off, reality sets in. The good part is that by then you’ll probably have realized that yes, you might have a mild case of homesickness, but college really isn’t that bad.
There are a lot of things to adjust to, so many emotions, so many new people, but it’s also the beginning of some of the greatest moments. Don’t give up! Don’t leave school because you’re sad. You can do it and if you stick it through, you’re going to be a stronger person. Think of the positives. You’re going to be finally independent. You can eat ice cream for dinner and stay up way past your bedtime. (You’ll soon realize this maybe isn’t the best idea, but hey, you can do it!)
You’re going to meet people who are going to change your life. You’re way of thinking about things is going to change. Above all, you’re going to have fun. From the girl who couldn’t wait to graduate the second she stepped on campus, I’m going to miss you JMU.
Best of luck baby Dukes! It may be rough, but you’re going to have the time of your life.