Letters to my First-Year Self

Dear scared, anxious first-year Amy Yoelin:

Hello from 2018, the year where things finally come together for you. You are fresh out of  high school, and the high-energy chants from your class screaming “2018, 2018, 2018” still ring in your ears. Of course, it will take four long years to get there. 

You’re currently at the University of Northern Colorado, where instead of getting a nightmare roommate, you have met one of your best friends. You declare an English major almost immediately, something that you have planned since high school. Your mind is set: move to New York City, become a young adult fiction editor, get published and have at least three corgis. 

But then, you actually start going to classes. And you realize: You want more from your education. About a month after beginning your courses, you look at colleges on the East Coast, wanting to leave Colorado as quickly as possible (no offense). In a turn of events, you hear about the Seven Sisters and hone in on Mount Holyoke. Biting the bullet, you buy a last-minute flight, travel over eight hours by plane and spontaneously meet one of your best friends at the Smith College bus stop, waiting for the Funky Cab (and yes, it is very funky) to take you to your new home, located in South Hadley, Massachusetts (a state that you are still not totally confident you can spell correctly).

Here’s what is coming for you. You ready?

1. You take a geology course at the University of Northern Colorado, become obsessed with rocks and ultimately major in the subject (don’t worry, you’ll double major in English). Oh, and be prepared for the following questions: “What will you do with that? Write books about geology?”

2. You’ll study abroad. Twice. Once at Trinity College in Oxford, UK, where you’ll fall in love. You’ll go to Israel too, where you’ll be the only female American student. 

3. You’ll decide you want to complete your Masters at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Turns out you like trees, too! 

4. Above all, you will become the Amy that you always wanted to be: adventurous, brave, confident and funny. 

Want some advice? Here it goes: nothing will go as planned, and that’s the way it should be. Be open to trying new things, try not to overthink and go with your gut. 

Good luck, kid. You are about to be hit with the best and most difficult years of your life thus far. 

“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.

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