A Letter to Future First-Year College Students

Keyanna Metts '25 just completed her first year at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. She is majoring in Advertising & Marketing Communications.

Dear Future First-Year Students,

This is the start of your adulthood. Every student who has come before you had their own opinions on college and how their experience was going to be. Some might have had elevated expectations of what college might be like because of how it’s portrayed in the movies or from the stories of family members or friends. Then they get to college and it’s either everything they expected or they realize their expectations were too high and they didn’t end up having the experiences they thought they would.

To avoid all that, my advice to you is: Be excited for college, but also remember you make your own college experience — try to make the most of it.

Finding Yourself

College could be the first time you are going to be fully and freely on your own without parents on your back checking if you did well in your classes or telling you to go to sleep early. But, hopefully, with all this new freedom, you will eventually realize there is more to college than just going to parties and hanging out with friends.

College is a commitment that you might believe you are ready for, but it’s OK to get here and realize you aren’t as ready as you thought. Your first year of college can show you things that you never thought you would ever see or experience. For example, seeing the number of friends you will gain and lose during your first year, going to Six Flags or a different state, gaining a skill that you thought you never would, joining a club that is out of your comfort zone, new life lessons etc. This is the time where you start to think of what you want to do and where you are in your life now.

Work towards becoming your true self without any limitations.

You’ll also have the opportunity to learn more about yourself and how you want to express yourself. Do not be afraid to experience new things! Work towards becoming your true self without any limitations.

Gaining and Losing Friends

Making friends in college is a big part of the process, and it may even be the number-one thing you think of when you are planning to go to college. I know you hear everyone say, “When I went to college, I made my forever best friend for life!” But not everyone you meet is going to be your friend, let alone your best friend.

You are going to realize that not everyone you meet is who you are going to stay friends with for all four of your college years. Some people might be your friend for a moment, days, or a semester and that is OK because you are going to find your loyal friends. Your roommate might become your best friend, or you will make a group of friends that you know will be there for you just like you will be there for them. You may also learn that just having one good friend is all that you need.

Read More >>> How to Make Friends as an Introvert

four girls walking together

Your Career

If you’re not sure what you want to do for a career after college, don’t stress about it! During these next four years, you will be able to figure it out. You might even change your major along the way. Even people who come to college knowing what they want to major in can realize that they want to do something different than what they originally came for. In any case, you should want to find something that you love so you will be happy doing your job.

A good thing about Johnson & Wales University is that they have a Design Your Own Major program where you can create a custom degree and study subjects across a variety of fields to create your own career path.

Read More >>> Three Reasons Why I Choose JWU

Take your time figuring out what you want to do. You have plenty of time and you’re not alone — so many students have doubts and worries about their futures.

a boy and girl talking about a camera

Live Your Best Life

Academics should be a major priority, but don’t forget to take time for yourself and live your life, experience new experiences and try to get out of your comfort zone. You should grow mentally and physically every day. Make sure the people who you let in your circle also help you grow because relationships work both ways. Sometimes you outgrow people because you are improving yourself, and, if the other person is staying the same, they give you no benefits. It is OK to help people and show them how and where they can improve.

Don’t forget to take time for yourself and live your life, experience new experiences and try to get out of your comfort zone.

Another thing is to not care what other people think of you because this is your world and they are just living in it. So wear that dress if you want to, try out that new hairstyle, go eat out and treat yourself.

College is going to be a wonderful experience, if you make it one.

Willy the Wildcat posing with a JWU student with a blue sky backdrop.

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