Five Things for Freshman Kira

Today I graduate from Wake Forest University, virtually and a year early.

Here are five things I would have liked freshman Kira to have known: 

1. They say that college is the best four years of your life, but just know that it probably (and hopefully) won't be. You will certainly have fun and you will definitely make friends, but the kind of fun you have and the friends you make will be different than before. There will be sleepless nights of being with people you only have just met, spontaneous trips and lots of outfits that should not be seen anywhere but in a room lit by LED lights, but there will be also be sleepless nights from loneliness, not remembering a time where the last time you left campus and many many hours staring at your computer screen dragging papers out word by word on a blank document. College is fun, but college is hard

2. College is hard, but only you make it hard. There will be weeks where there is no end in sight for the amount of reading you have to do, papers you have to write and assignments you have to complete all while thinking carefully about what's in the future, taking care of your mental and physical health and keeping up with family and friends. The weirdest part about college is that this feeling of drowning with no end in sight becomes normal and you get used to it because you will learn to adapt your life to it. Eventually you figure out that no matter how many people you say "Ugh, I just have so much to do." you will not get sympathy nor can it be used as an excuse because simply everyone has a lot on their to-do list. You will figure out your system, your routine, what works for you, your favorite study spot and your favorite time of day. Most importantly, you will learn that you cannot pour from an empty cup and there comes a point where you must step back and let the to do list be. 

3. Busy culture is toxic. You will be tempted by the colors of Google Calendar to fill your day to the brim and feed off the buzz of everyone talking about meeting after meeting after meeting. The best secret that you will learn is the power of actually working smarter not harder - not just saying that you are but really making it an active practice. 

4. Some professors will be in your life forever, others you will want to only see during the one hour classes you have twice a week. The relationships you make in your academic settings do not define you, what defines you is your work ethic and consistently bringing into the classroom what interests you. Always connect what you are passionate about to the subject at hand because that's how you make the most boring subject have a spark. Also, rules are made to be broken (to an extent). Sometimes the prompts are boring and you want to talk about something else for a 10 page paper ... but remember to ask for permission not forgiveness when your grade counts upon it.

5. Your college experience does not have to look like anybody else's. Study what you want. Be friends with who you want. Rush a sorority or don't. Regardless of what you do make sure that these decisions are yours and not anybody else's. This period of your life is for you, so make sure you really truly act like it. Take advice but sift through it with caution. Form your own opinions and use your own voice. Ask for help when you need it

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