Lost: Your First Week at College

Dear Elisabeth,

Remember your first day of Kindergarten?

Yes, I know it was a long time ago. Just bear with me for a moment.

Do you remember how excited you were to meet your new teacher?
To meet new friends?
To learn new things?

I really wish you could remember it, because it’s so uncanny how similar your first day at Kindergarten will be to your first week at college.

I remember when you first went to school. Back then, you still saw it as an adventure. Full of new environments and challenges, elementary school was like a brand new playground. Sure, there was some uncertainty. It did take you a few minutes to let go of mommy’s hand before heading off to the classroom alone, but you did it. With each day of that first week, your excitement for school only grew bigger and bigger and every day you returned with a smile on your face.

Elisabeth, I really wish that you could remember that first day of kindergarten, because it’s so similar to the experience of going to college. The same foreign landscapes and new adventures—college only seems different on its exterior. Trust me, though. The experience is practically the same.

I wish you could remember that experience because I sincerely fear that now that you are older you may forget how to feel comfortable with letting go of mommy’s hand.

I know how difficult it can be to remember. When I went to college, my first week was full of desperate attempts to keep myself together. With Tobi in tow, I scurried between crowds of upperclassmen, trying my best to hide any obvious clues that would label me as a newcomer. I went to class and panicked over the syllabuses, full of difficult and unprecedented coursework. I got lost on campus trying to navigate between the different buildings.  I bumped into strangers and lost my keys. At one point, I found myself caught in the rain without an umbrella. The list goes on and on, Elisabeth.

Oh, and did I mention that we got lost?

We were always lost.

It was hard for me to remember at the time that my first week was supposed to be exciting. Getting lost, running in the rain—all of that was supposed to be a part of the adventure. It was hard to remember that those memories were worth cultivating, and when I looked back at my previous life, it was hard to resist reaching back out for a caring hand.

I longed for home.

Elisabeth, I worry that you may forget in the same way I had once forgotten.

I want you to remember kindergarten because, despite how scary college may seem at first, it’s really the same experience. Once the rain had passed, I moved on from my loneliness and met some fantastic people. Interesting people! People with ambitions and opinions—not petty high school drama and shallow dreams. I learned things about our country and our people that would have surprised me at a younger age. Science, mathematics, literature—all those traditional subjects were revamped by my professors and their practicality was finally brought to light.

Elisabeth, please remember your first day of kindergarten.

Remember that with each new adventure comes uncertainty, and that uncertainty always comes to pass.

With lots of love,
Your Sister