By Alex Bayer
You’re only a Stanford freshman once. Well, if you’re doing it right. In this epistolary reflection on her own freshman year, Alex Bayer doles out some advice you’ll want to note, office-hours- and judgment-free. Or not. #YOSFO #OrTwice
Dear Freshman Self,
If you’re reading this, you’re probably feeling awkward and friendless and reeling from NSO. You’re probably trying to look your coolest and well-adjusted on the outside because, you know, that’s the thing to do. (Cool cargo jacket by the way, that one’s gonna pay off.)
You may have attended your first frat party and been thoroughly frightened by the realization that you know no one, save for the roommate pasted by your side. You may have spotted the frosh you stalked before getting to school, and that surely made you feel creepy and (justifiably) friendless. In short, you were probably riding the struggle bus real hard.
What would I, older, wiser and equally weird soon-to-be-sophomore, tell you, young grasshopper? I guess I would tell you that everything’s going to be okay, yet when I think about it, there was nothing I could have really done to make anything significantly better. Yeah, I could’ve been more social and stuff, but you weren’t so bad at that (good on you, you little introvert). You joined a lot of clubs, got too much junk mail. You took classes just because you thought they were cool, and that was cool. You were mostly yourself, and I’m proud of you for that, squirt. Really the only thing that made things better was time. It’s the same for a really awful addiction, or a crappy breakup.
With time came friends that were more than just the people you smiled at and said “Hey” to in the hallway because to do otherwise would be very awkward. With time came an understanding of the lay of the land and the realization that no, you did not need frat parties in your life. With time you understood that if you stay in the bubble too long, you get really, really miserable and almost depressed, and that University Avenue, while it’s no College Town Avenue, has some cool restaurants and things. Better than nothing, after all. You realized that it was kind of nice to take your bike out to Stanford Shopping Center, or even better, just walk to class. You went surfing in Santa Cruz one day and realized that getting out of Silicon Valley is even more gratifying. You weren’t always wiser with time. You got hung up on a boy and suffered more agony than you knew you should’ve allowed yourself. But with time you got over him, and it was the getting-over-said-boy that made you look elsewhere for fun, and that’s when the surfing and the going-out-to-eat-and-becoming-broke all started happening.
So in short, Alex, you didn’t do too bad. Because would I have done anything differently at this point in September? I don’t think I could have! I think I would do the same thing you did—take everything as it comes and just wait for the slightly cooler, slightly more self-assured, one-year-older version of yourself to arrive.
Best, (Apparently people sign off this way)
Alex is a spunky sophomore with auburn hair and illustrated jokes.