Letter to my first-year self: Sally Ma

Dear first-year Sally,

You will hate snow. Really hate snow. Continue to take photos, especially of your friends. Don’t confuse homesickness with actual sickness. Go to the health center. Don’t let anyone judge you for eating ice cream for dinner (and for dessert). Eventually, you will need to stop saying “I think” and start saying “I feel.” Lowell High School will follow you around in weird ways.

Lower your expectations for Chinese food in the Valley. You will literally follow soup dumplings across the world and spend a wonderful, sodium-filled semester in Shanghai. You will have friends who join you on the nerdiest adventures and won’t mind the smell of durian.

Related: Even though “bai” means white, and “jiu” is technically the term for wine, “Baijiu” is NOT white wine.

Sophomore year, an old man will challenge your academic integrity. He will compliment your words and then tell you they aren’t yours. It will feel terrible, but remember that you did nothing wrong. This won’t be the last time you need to stand up for yourself.

In that same class, you will meet another girl who lives a very different lifestyle from you — don’t judge her for it. You will need her to explain what “vaping” and “yeezy” means and where to find the coolest kung fu sneakers, and when she drags you out to bars against your will, don’t worry — it will be fun.

Do not take a shower on Feb. 14, 2016 at 6:26 p.m.  Someone in Creighton will set off the fire alarm and you will not know what to do.

Also, when the time comes to celebrate “101 Days to Graduation,” please remember your I.D.

May the force be with you, always.

All the best,

Sally Ma

“Letters to my first-year self” is a series in which seniors reflect on their experiences at Mount Holyoke. Letters can be sent to mhn@mtholyoke.edu.