Dear Lovely MU Freshman Girls (Sophomore and Junior Ladies, too!)
Welcome to the bubble. Over the next four years you will lose your mind (more than once), doubt yourself, and maybe feel an intense and out of the blue need to buy your first pair of Sperrys (don’t). After the initial culture shock, you will find your friends, acquire a wealth of information (some useful, some not so much), and learn about yourself to an extent you ever thought possible.
School, regardless of your major, will make you feel hopeless at times. Other times it will inspire you to the point where you may get emotional during class and have you calling your parents afterwards (its happened to me…no judgement). You will be awakened, you will stress, some nights you may live in King, and by your senior year (or in my case, junior year) you will be OVER IT…in the best way possible. It’s all a part of the experience, and while Miami plan may not be your favorite thing in the world you will, believe it or not, take a lot of that pricey liberal arts education with you.
Side note: If you are struggling, go to office hours! Even if you’re not struggling, go. You do not realize how much professors appreciate the efforts of their students, and you should never feel embarrassed for wanting that little extra push.
It’s been said before, but the friends you made freshman year will most likely not be the same you ended up with. Some of us are lucky enough to have held onto that core group, but its absolutely fine if you don’t. Whether or not you want to admit it, you will change in college, so its only natural that your friends will too. That being said, do not hold onto friendships that are no longer positive or beneficial for either parties. Sure it sucks to invest time in people, but sometimes you have to move on.
There will be times, especially as a minority student, that you encounter some sh*t that straight PISSES YOU OFF. You may feel like you cannot relate to anybody around you, but there are so many people who do not fit the stereotypical Miami mold. At such a seemingly one-dimensional school it is normal to feel like an outsider or discriminated against. These experiences will make you stronger and you will learn how to react appropriately, check people when they step out of line, and teach them how to break out of their small-mindedness. To be fair, you have to be open-minded as well and willing to get out of your comfort zone. Some of my best friends and fondest memories required me to be daring.
Your friends will be your backbone, emotional support system, family away from home, your everything. Do not take them for granted, make time for them, and above all make sure to be there for them as much as they are there for you. TAKE PICTURES (and video). Always. I don’t care how cool you think you are. You’re going to want to capture these moments.
Go Greek, or don’t. I didn’t because it was not for me as a person and I knew this from the jump. Yes there are tons of sororities and fraternities on campus, but there are also other ways to get involved. Find which method is best for you and work it.
On love, sex, and relationships
It’s okay to take a break from your high school boyfriend as you both navigate through this insanely unpredictable time of your life. It’s okay to break up with your college boyfriend for the same reasons. If you’re meant to be together, you may find your way back to each other. Or you won’t, either way you will live (you know how many guys are out there, even in tiny ass Oxford, right?)
And yes, there will be boys. You will meet them. You will date them. You will be confused by them (and vice versa). Establish your own lines of communication from the beginning and never assume. “Talking” to someone is a bullshit term someone made up, and does not mean you and the guy you are interested in are in a monogamous partnership. Sounds silly, but you will get hurt if you are fully dedicating yourself to a guy who is not doing the same. Communicate, and don’t take anything too seriously…except your school work. Nobody wants to be here more than 4 years. True shit.
Hook up culture: It’s real. It is not necessarily replacing date culture altogether, but know it is out there and prevalent. Participate if you WANT to, but not for any other reason. Don’t do it because you want to be “cool”, “fit in”, or want to prove that you’re a “down” chick. College is a place where many explore their sexuality, but it is all about being smart and in tune with yourself. Know what you want and if a serious relationship is what you’re after, don’t be afraid to go get that and be clear about that. Be smart, and don’t fall for every slick talking guy with a cute smile (they will sweet talk the sh*t out of you and you gotta have your BS meter on 10). DO NOT feel pressured to do anything outside of what you want to do or that you owe anyone anything. Also, if you don’t know already, sex is never a guaranteed gateway into a relationship or a mechanism to trick anyone into a relationship. I just have to let you know because some people apparently still think that’s how shit works.
Now on the other hand if you want to let your freak flag fly, DO THAT. As women, we are always forced to suppress our desires in accordance with what a masculine majority believes. I’m going to need all of you to stop giving a shit about what men think. Be sexy, confident, and open with who you are and don’t question it for a second. Do this as early as possible, because I definitely spent way too much of my college experience trying to abide by the “rules” of what a “good girl” should be. Do what you want, be safe, and don’t regret it for a second. End of discussion.
On that note, explore! No that does not necessarily mean experiment with every guy on campus but do not for one second think that one guy on campus who you kind of hand a connection with is your soul mate. I don’t even believe in soul mates so I’m not going to speak on this further. But do not put any man on a pedestal or before your own needs, happiness, and desires. Sure, relationships are about compromise but if you find yourself sad in a situation more than you are happy its ok to bounce. Know that when one door closes, another opens. That statement is corny as hell but its real.
On everything else
Miami parties. Hard. You know this, I know this. I went from being a high schooler who thought “people who need to be drunk to have a good time are pathetic” to a happy hour aficionado. Don’t know anybody’s lifestyle, and do not feel pressured to party…even if the rest of campus is at Beat the Clock sippin on trashcans and pitchers. Again, the message is do you.
Attend at least one athletic event. May I suggest hockey (our football team is garbo). Even if you aren’t into sports, try it out. It’s free, and I guarantee even if you think you are “better” you will become a fan. If you don’t fall in love with the sport, you’ll at least fall for the atmosphere that you’ll never experience again.
Go to the Freshman orientation concert, speakers events at Hall, Spring Fest, Career Fair, a concert at Brick, run the trails behind the football field, join a club team. Oxford may be a tiny town, but you should never be bored.
Put the phone down!
I get we all love our technology but I recommend you look up during your walks to class sometimes. We do go to one of the most beautiful schools in the world (despite the constant construction), so look around every once in awhile. When out for dinner with your friends, watching a movie, or during an interesting lecture, send that Snapchat, snap that quick Insta, then put the phone away.
If there’s one thing you can count on during these crazy for years is that people will always have something to say. You cannot please everyone, only yourself, so do more of that. Don’t take social media personally, don’t succumb to any of the many labels surrounding Miami students. People take pleasure in making others feel inferior, especially with social media sites like Twitter, Yik Yak, and Insta at the epicenter of it all. Don’t fall for it, and feel free to take a social media cleanse from time to time (it is a blessing and a curse).
Despite the occasional sting of doubt, failure, stress, heartbreak, or whatever petty shit I have gone through during college, I could not imagine having gone anywhere else. These were undeniably the best four years of my life, and I know that with this education behind me the best is yet to come (or maybe that’s the “optimist” in me.) I would not have done it differently for anything, and I will hold the memories of these four years with me for the rest of my life. I can only hope when you reach graduation day that you feel the same.