Dear Freshman Me: An Open-Letter to My Freshman Self

Dear my freshman self, 

Well, this is going to be a wild ride! Your first year at Cal is full of things you didn’t expect. I know we came in with this idea about college and what it was going to be like. Let me tell you, as your now second-year self, nothing you thought about college is true… well not entirely. Here are the four things you should know coming into your first year here:

 

  1. Going random with your roommates was a good idea. (I know right!)
Left to Right: Aarav Shah, Ethan Collier, Michael Zheng
Left to Right: Aarav Shah, Ethan Collier, Michael Zheng

You are the only one coming from your high school and are not really active in the countless groupchats you added yourself. Everyone seems to have found roommates so you decided to go random. You were so nervous about the two dudes you got suddenly put with in a triple. You texted them and from there… the rest is history. You will meet the two nicest and chillest dudes who will be a big part of your freshman year. From the many late nights of grinding through classes together to the first week and GBO adventures, these dudes are going to be your closest friends. 

Sometimes things will work out and sometimes they won’t. Maybe this was luck, maybe it wasn’t. Going random with your roommates is not as scary as you may think coming into your first year. Berkeley’s Housing Department works to pair with people who have similar interests as you. You met some of the nerdiest dudes who you’ll spend nights with playing Super Smash Bros. Enjoy your roommates and build a lasting friendship with them.

 

  1. Classes will fill up quick (and that’s okay) so explore!

During the summer, you are going to spend hours planning your first semester schedule. You will have all the classes in mind. You will the perfect schedule and back-up schedule ready to go. Then, you log into CalCentral to register for classes and they are all filled. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. They are filled and even their waitlists are filled. 

But, hey! You will have this semester to explore! Enroll in that dance class that looked interesting or take up a new language. Do your breadth requirements in classes and departments you know you may never come across again. THEATER 40 and FRENCH 1 are going to be the classes that make your first semester at Cal. Because of that dance class, you’re now going to pursue a dance minor. Enjoy exploring classes and explore your interests. Take up a DECAL or two and see where your passions lead you.

 

  1. Become the best Campus Ambassador you can be (and enjoy the wild ride with it!)
A group of individuals facing and listening to a campus ambassador during their tour of the UC Berkeley campus.
A group of individuals facing and listening to a campus ambassador during their tour of the UC Berkeley campus.

At the end of freshman year, you’re going to start looking for a job. Your Senior Residential Assistant Isha will tell you about this job giving tours on campus. So you go ahead, film yourself 20 times in your dorm room for the audition video and apply. You get an invite for the Zoom audition. After that audition, you honestly thought you were not going to get the job. You messed up the skit and stayed in your dorm, skulking while doing laundry. You get a call from one of your future mentors, Jimmy, congratulating you on being hired as a campus ambassador. 

That call probably set your next four years here at Cal. You meet your cohort and one of your amazing mentors, Kalysta who began your training. Even though you took a different route with training, you are going to be an amazing campus ambassador. That first tour you’re going to do will inspire one of those high school students to come to Cal in the future. You’ll be surrounded by some of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet. These memories will set you up for the next four years of your life. Enjoy these people and the moments both on and off the clock.

 

  1. Don’t ever look back.

My final words to you – Don’t look back. Your freshman will be filled with mistakes, heartbreak, and tears. You will want to quit. In your first semester, you will be at your lowest point. But, that’s okay! You will get back up. You will pass your classes and accomplish everything you aspire to be. Be that triple major. Be that dancer and aspiring social worker. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

That’s it, freshman me. Enjoy your first year of college. I love you always.

 

Go Bears,

Ethan

Author: Ethan Collier

Hi there! My name is Ethan (he/they). I am a rising second-year triple-major at Cal. I hope to study Political Science, Ethnic Studies, and Social Welfare. After my undergraduate years, I want to pursue my MSW and become a licensed social worker or a secondary teacher! Outside of writing for BearTalk and being a Campus Ambassador, I am also involved in ASUC, SACUE, Ballet Folklórico, GENup Collegiate, and Aspiring Educators at Berkeley.Ask me about student government, clubs on campus, and how to make the most out of your first year at Cal <3