A Letter to my First-Year Self
Meera Anand, a third-year undergraduate student at Ashoka University writes a letter to her first-year self who just joined Ashoka, advising her to slow down, live in the moment and make the most of her college life.
Office of PR & Communications23 September, 2021 | 4m read
I know it all feels very overwhelming right now as you are preparing to leave the nest for the first time in your life. You feel a little panicky but there is no time to think about all that, with all the bags to pack, forms to fill and last-minute shopping to do. As the move-in day draws closer, the underlying sense of unease and anxiety begins to surface when it suddenly dawns on you that you are going to be leaving behind your friends, family and everything you have known so far. Standing outside the campus gates, watching it open, you feel all kinds of emotions: nervous, happy, uncertain, excited to begin this journey to a new chapter of your life.
So there you go, first-year-me, my number-one advice to you would be to calm down. I know why you feel that to live through the “Ashokan experience”, you have to join every club, play every sport and make the most of everything the campus has to offer. Trust me, I understand this feeling. Ashoka does that to you. You have come full of hopes and dreams to this land of opportunity and the possibilities are endless; you don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything you want to do. But seriously, breathe. The key is to fill your days with the right pursuits that fulfill you because no matter how cliché it may sound, it is true what they say: these years are going to slip away before you realise it.
And it is alright if you do not know what these pursuits are just yet. You may feel anxious and spoiled for choice at the number of courses and extracurricular options presented to you. But that is completely fine. The best part about this liberal arts education is that you have a whole year to play the field and figure out where your interests lie. I know why it feels like you are the only one struggling to keep up in this vast group of people who have it all figured out. In what feels like a race, you thought you were keeping a good pace until you were not.
Everywhere you look you are surrounded by self-confidence and brilliance but please do not worry dear first-year-me. Nobody is as sorted as you think they are and you are most definitely not as stupid as you think you are. You have simply been thrown at the deep end and the suddenness of it all may have made you lose sight of the hard fact which is that college is hard. But I promise you, it will all get easier. The loneliness and self-doubt will gradually fade away and this strange building will soon become your new home. Help is available everywhere at Ashoka – you just need to ask for it.
So just hang in there, take it all in, and hold onto this phase of your life for as long as you can.