To my freshman self
Dear Chelsea on FDOC 2010,
Woohoo, you’ve made it to Duke! It’s now time to shake off that O-week hangover because you’re a college girl now, and I’ve got a few words of wisdom for your next four years.
1. Yes, you actually have to do work in college, and there will be tons of it. It’s occasionally alright to procrastinate—for some reason, you produce your best papers the night before the deadline. Try writing anything too far in advance and it will be crap, trust me. However, I know you were a math nerd in high school, but that means nothing now! You’ll forget to do your problem sets and will be very close to failing math during freshman fall. It will be a huge reality check. You’re smart but that doesn’t mean you can get away with slacking off.
2. On that note, you’ve lived most of your life with undiagnosed ADHD! Get to a psychiatrist ASAP. You’ll finally stop being so late to class and forgetting to brush your teeth, hallelujah. You’ll have a hard time admitting to yourself that you have a mental health problem, but, it’s not a big deal, so don’t sweat it.
3. Ditch the pre-med! You only want this because someone once said you looked like Izzy from Grey’s Anatomy and all of the men on that show are incredibly attractive. You hate everything about hospitals! Children and old people and bodily fluids freak you out! Don’t waste your time pursuing something that you know will make you miserable.
4. You won’t be an athlete forever. You’ll f--k up your back during sophomore year and leave the rowing team. It will feel like the end of the world, but it’s a blessing in disguise. Yes, you will definitely have an identity crisis, but you’ll get over it. Rowing won’t be your thing anymore, and that’s okay—you will soon discover that you have many other, better things! Take this time to make new friends and try new stuff.
5. Suck Duke dry of its many incredible resources. There are countless opportunities to travel, many of which are free. DukeEngage, DukeImmerse and random Sanford internships—all of that stuff will show you more of the world than you would ever imagine you’d see. And get to know your professors! The good ones are vastly more interesting than most people you know.
6. You will study abroad in Paris and it will be fantastic. Eat and drink everything and speak as much French as you can. This sounds silly, but it’s very easy to only hang out with Americans and only speak English while in Paris—don’t do it!
7. Do your own thing. Sure, it seems like everyone’s joining sororities and spending their summers interning at banks. You know this is not you, so don’t succumb! Do what you want to do and trust your gut, girl.
8. Labels are silly and pointless. Yes, non-athletes are people, too! Most of them are inherently good and actually pretty cool. And just because you’re an independent doesn’t mean the Greeks are bad! Be friendly and open-minded and you’ll meet some amazing people.
9. You have a creative side that you’ve been suppressing for a while now—stop it. Start painting and writing and doing all of the stuff that makes you happy. You’ll be a better person for it.
10. Stop drinking such sh--ty alcohol! Sure, Franzia and Burnett’s are economical, but, for a few dollars more, you can avoid some hellish hangovers. And when it comes to drinking, learn your limits. Vomiting is not fun.
11. You’ll have your share of horrendously embarrassing moments when you’ll feel you have no dignity left and that your life is over. Stop being so dramatic! Hold your head up high, laugh it off, and move on. Confidence is your savior in any shaky situation. You’ll someday have the funniest, wildest stories to share during “truth or dare” with your new friends and you’ll be thankful.
12. Be nice to your family! You’re incredibly lucky to have such a loving, easy-going support system and you need to appreciate them. Dad gets really sad when you forget to call him, so do this at least once a week. And you must always remember birthdays—especially Grandma’s.
13. Your room is disgusting. Clean it now. Especially the fridge and under the bed. And please stop wearing those black sweatpants. They are hideous and make you look like a shlub.
14. Have a flexible moral compass. Everything questionable you and others do is situational. Don’t judge people based on something silly they did at a frat party one night. You wouldn’t want them to do that to you now, would you?
15. That being said, remember to let loose. Get the crazy stuff out of your system now. Such debauchery becomes much less acceptable after graduation. Just remember, what happens at Shooter’s does not always stay at Shooter’s!
16. Regardless of the situation, these three things are always a good idea—seatbelts, sunscreen and condoms. Never forget this!
17. Get out and see Durham because it’s awesome and you’re going to miss it someday. When it’s nice outside, go for a picnic in the gardens or swimming at the quarry or hiking at the Eno River. It’s all so beautiful. Go to concerts at Cat’s Cradle and the Duke Coffeehouse and everywhere else. Eat everything from every restaurant in town!
18. Your senior self is so incredibly different than you would have ever imagined, and that’s okay! She is happy and excited and loves herself much more than you do now. Embrace change and challenge and don’t be afraid of the unknown. Duke is going to be a hell of a ride but you’re going to love it! Your time here will go by too fast, so savor every minute of it.
Chelsea on LDOC 2014
Chelsea Sawicki is a Trinity senior. Her column is part of the weekly Socialites feature. This is her final column of the semester. Send Chelsea a message on Twitter @ChelsTweetzz.