An Honest Letter to Soon-To-Be First Years from a Soon-To-Be Senior

Dear incoming freshmen!

Although I have no idea who you are, you may know my face and name. We’ll probably run into each other on campus at some point, so come say hi any time (if you want to).

Anyway, not trying to sound too old, but when I was in your position almost four years ago, I was really excited but also clueless and nervous. The idea of living with strangers hundreds of miles away from home and having to be responsible for myself scared me.

If you’re feeling the same way, then I’m here to tell you that you eventually get used to it. There will be times when you almost break the washing machine, and you might miss class once or twice because you didn’t hear the alarm ring. You will most certainly get fixated on an unhealthy food item in the cafeteria, like French fries, and eat it all day every day until you can’t stand to look at it anymore.

Sometimes you will feel sad and homesick and tired, but that’s the whole point of living in the residence halls during your freshman year. You make mistakes, learn from them, and become a little bit better at acting like an adult. It’s okay to make mistakes!

Oh, one thing I have to tell you though, is don’t bring a lot of things with you. If you have to ask yourself, “Do I need this?” then it’s probably better left at home. Throughout college, online shopping can save you if you need something in a pinch. Moving out at the end of the year can be expensive when you have too many things.

Pack wisely!

Another thing I was really worried about as an incoming freshman was meeting new people. Leaving a familiar circle of friends who understands me and having to form new friendships in a strange environment seemed like a lot of work. But what most people forget is that almost all freshmen feel the same way.

Everyone is nervous and anxious to make new friends, and that actually makes it really easy to meet new people. College, especially Rochester, is filled with unique students who are interested in a wide variety of things, so I can guarantee you will find friends here.

If you’re still feeling a little anxious, joining student organizations is a fun and fast way to meet a lot of people. I talked about joining multicultural clubs before, but Rochester has over 200 organizations that cater to every student’s interest. It’s actually possible to do yoga in the morning, join a game of Quidditch in the afternoon, and talk about poetry at night at Rochester.

As a freshman, I tried to do many things that I never would have done as a high school student. I took classes in brain and cognitive sciences and art history, topics that I never even thought about in high school. I started to think about where I wanted to study abroad, and I even applied to be part of an executive board for an organization, something that I never had time for in high school. By trying new things, I realized qualities about myself that I never knew before, and I also got to meet amazing people on the way.

If high school was a place of preparation for the future, then college is that future.

Rochester is a place to make mistakes, learn from them, realize new things about yourself, and slowly but surely make your path toward Meliora, an ever-better you. Trust me: you will have fun, four years will fly by, and very soon you will be in my position, talking to another incoming freshman on his or her way to Meliora.

Meliora pride!

Meliora pride!


An equally nervous but excited senior

About the author

YooJung Chun

I'm a member of the Class of 2018, and I am majoring in art history. I was born in Seoul, South Korea, before moving to Chicago. I'm the Publicity Chair for the Korean American Students' Association, and I also take piano lessons at the Eastman School of Music.


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  • Hi, you just increased my anxiety about joining college. Though I just cleared high school, I will be applying to Rochester this year. I have so much hope, and fears equally. During you application, how did you deal with your fears?

    • Hey Stacy, there’s no need to feel anxious about college!!! In my blog post, I was trying to say that even though there will be challenges and mistakes you make in college, EVERYONE makes them and that’s how you learn!

      I’ve written several posts about college application process, including how I got through college interviews and writing the common app essay, so I think those posts will be helpful for you. Applying for colleges can definitely be an anxious process because there’s so much to do and you have no idea how it’s going to turn out, but not knowing the end result also gives you freedom! When I realized that there’s nothing more I can do except try my best and not regret anything, it got rid of the fear of the application process.

      If you have any more questions or just want to talk about the application process, you’re always welcome to email me at:

      Don’t worry, you got this!! (:

  • Hi, YooJung. I’m applying to Rochester this year. Although I’m not a roc student yet, I’m still feeling worried. I’m really excited to be friends with people coming from all over the world, but how can I avoid unintentionally offending them??

    Btw, love Miyazaki Hayao completely!!

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