With admissions decisions coming out soon, I wanted to write a letter to myself that would've helped me out when I found out I got into Oberlin (during Early Decision I in December 2014). Prospective students, whether you get into Oberlin or not, I know you'll find a place that feels right for you. It might take some time, but it will happen! Sending you love and good energy during this stressful time!
Dear Kira of December 2014,
YOU DID IT! You got into your dream school! You just opened that acceptance email and cried when you saw the adorable gif with all the waving people. Last year, in your junior English class, you wrote an essay about your hopes for the future. Your fantasy went like this: "Someday I'll have a picnic on the lawn of a progressive liberal arts college, surrounded by vegans and feminists; between bites of non-GMO hummus and pita bread, we'll discuss documentaries and our favorite slam poets." You're literally going to do that at Oberlin!! This is a moment for celebration!
I know the nerves will kick in in a few days, so here's the main thing I want you to know: it's going to be okay. In the fall, you will meet people who will challenge and encourage you. You will learn as much from your peers as from your professors (in a good way!). Some of your friends will like your favorite things and others will have completely different interests, but all will give you new perspectives. You will find people who want to analyze reality TV with you and draw blind contours while listening to bands you don't even KNOW right now! They will come to Oberlin from many places, from only an hour away from your house to an entirely different continent. And don't forget about the classes you're going to take!! Looking at the course catalog each semester is majorly exciting. All this knowledge is waiting for you. At Oberlin, you will learn how much you don't yet know, and that will excite you. Your worldview is about to change.
For now, try to enjoy the little things about being home, the things you'll miss the most, like the food and the shower and your bed. Hug your pets as much as you can and make sure you look up from your AP studying every once in awhile to play cards with your sister or cook dinner with your mom. Cherish driving too - I know leaving the house at 7:15am to drive 30 minutes to school sucks right now, but you won't have that same kind of mobility when you get to college. And enjoy the sun this summer. Wear shorts and Tevas as much as you can, because there will be several months where the warmest days are still too cold for a t-shirt.
A note of caution: don't get too obsessed with the Oberlin 2019 Facebook page. I know it's hard to restrain yourself from learning everything you can about your future classmates, but the constant notifications end up stressing you out this summer. You have to remember that Oberlin is a place with real people, not just a string of posts and comments. Remember that everyone is trying to figure out where they belong! All these other first-years are just as anxious as you, so only go on the page when it makes you feel good and excited. You don't need to worry about not fitting in just because your introductory post doesn't get as many likes as someone else's does. All that will be forgotten when you get to Oberlin. It's going to be okay, remember?
It makes sense to be afraid. This is one of the scariest times of your life. The night before starting college, you will sob with your mom in a hotel room with peeling wallpaper in northeast Ohio. In that moment, you will regret leaving home.
But about a week later, you will be eating Cheetos (you love Cheetos!) and watching the VMAs in a first-year dorm lounge with a group of people who will become your best friends, next to a boy from Wisconsin who you will love.
That semester, there will be moments of paralyzing homesickness and uncertainty, but there will also be times when you couldn't feel luckier to be alive. If being afraid is what you need to process the change right now, that's understandable. But try not to let it ruin the coming months. Be easy on yourself. College will be here soon enough. Take deep breaths and do your best to be in the moment!
You are so ready for everything that comes your way. You will handle obstacles with kindness, strength, and resolve, even when you're afraid. Everyone is rooting for you! I promise, I promise, I promise, it's going to be okay.