Words by Kiana Duncan

Let me start off by saying congrats on not dying of

  1. alcohol poisoning
  2. stress
  3. Prentice wraps

during your first month of school. I’d like to say the worst is behind you, but this is college. Somehow, the worst is always directly ahead. Don’t ask me how it works, I don’t make the rules.

Chances are something embarrassing has already happened to you. I’m going to commit the cardinal Internet sin by telling you a cripplingly humiliating story from my freshman year. See how much I like you twerps? People from high school are going to find me and laugh, but it’s OK because… *sigh* I want you to learn from my mistakes.

I was cramming a philly steak and spinach sandwich down my throat right before an interview. I quickly finished my Subway and sprinted down the main staircase of the Student Center, only to push on the wrong side of the door. The guy on the other side of the door watched me and started laughing. Sweating, I tried to laugh it off and pushed my way through. He then proceeded to hit on me and I quickly smiled and gave an excuse as to my other plans that night (psst, saying “playing monopoly with my friends” doesn’t sound remotely true). He gave me a weird look, said “OK,” and walked away.

I figured he was just embarrassed about being shot down, but no. Of course not. After my interview, I went back to my dorm to discover there was a giant piece of spinach hanging between my teeth.. #justgirlythings. Really cute.

What’s my point here? It’s easy to feel like a failure when it seems like everyone around you knows what they’re doing. There’s always that one freshman who shows up on the first day looking like a grad student. And then there’s the kid in your class who shows up with 15 AP credits out of the way and an extensive knowledge of his major because his rich high school could afford it. I hate that guy. If you don’t have that guy, you are that guy. And I hate you. It’s easy to feel lost and frustrated and maybe you weren’t ready for this. There is hope, though.

Much like my running pace, college is definitely not a sprint. It’s slow and steady, and you have to take things one at a time. It’s sweaty and miserable and sometimes you wonder why you even started. Also like my running pace. This metaphor is falling apart.

You have to celebrate the small things you get right. You have to celebrate finishing a horrible research paper. You celebrate nights with your friends where maybe even for only one second, everything feels normal and there’s hope you’re going to make it. Celebrate moments where everything makes sense, even if they’re fleeting. Celebrate buying granola instead of a Snickers bar. Celebrate forgetting how much you miss your family for one night.

There’s a quote from Tumblr (everyone groans) that I really appreciate:

“Today my anthro professor said something kindof really beautiful:

‘You all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in you, that’s why you’re here, in college. I want you to know that it’s OK if you only save one person, and it’s OK if that person is you.’”

Celebrate personal growth. It’s not all about straight A’s and who your friends are. Celebrate whatever you can, whenever you can, because you deserve it.

Want to ask a frosh question but too scared to even ask Google? No worries! Submit it for my advice column of the week: ask.fm/FroshOffTheBus