To the Avoidance of Failures

Dear college freshmen,

You’re going to experience a lot of flack your first year. You’ve probably heard most of it before you even registered, and are hoping it won’t apply to you. You may even see people you think are a showcase of how dumb freshmen can be and avoid them like the plague.

But there is one fact that you cannot escape, above all else.

No matter what you do, you are going to regret decisions you make in your first year.

You are going to look back and think you were young, stupid, and bull-headed. It is unavoidable. However far you run from this fact, it will always come back to you. If you study hard and avoid everyone; if you socialize and forget your grades; even if you perfectly balance work, school, and social life, you will, in a matter of years, find something to regret.

Don’t let this change you.

As a freshman, you are brimming with potential. Imagine yourself as being on a beach; imagine your graduated self being on a path. Being on a beach, you can choose any direction you like, and even if you have a false start, you can still turn around. Nothing is certain; take this as a blessing more than a curse.

By your senior year, your way will be set, and you will no longer have this freedom without great cost–both figurative and literal. Take this time to explore who you are and who you want to be.

College is about settling into who you will be for the rest of your life, and this is more exciting than intimidating. It involves both successes and failures, and sometimes you learn more about yourself from how you handle mistakes than from anything else.

So, take some steps forward. It’s going to be a fun time.

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