Dear freshman me,

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As I wrap up my senior year, it seems like yesterday I was moving into Boyd Hall in the Hill. These past four years have been the best I could ask for, I’ve been able to build friendships and create memories that will last a lifetime, not to mention earn a bachelor’s degree in public relations from a prestigious university.

If I had to go back and re-do anything, I wouldn’t. But, there are a few things I wish I knew as a freshman…

Old habits die hard

This one I am still trying to work on. I am a huge procrastinator. Somehow I always manage to slide by but that could mean pulling an all-nighter or being extremely stressed when it could have been easily avoided. The all-nighters are no longer a thing for me, but putting things off until last minute has become all too casual.

If I could tell my freshman self one thing, it would be to never procrastinate, like ever. I know that’s nearly impossible but trying to do things piece by piece instead of all at once could have helped a lot.

Dare to be different

I have to admit, it was a culture shock coming down South from the Jersey Shore. Fried chicken, grits and saying y’all was just weird to me. I remember at Camp War Eagle, a girl walked up to me and said, “You’re not from here, are you?”

I wasn’t wearing Nike shorts and a big t-shirt…

At some points I stuck out like a sore thumb with my Northern ways and it bothered me. I tried to do Southern things, like wear baggy t-shirts, say y’all and wear monogrammed clothes. But as much as doing this made me fit in, my Jersey roots would always stand out. I would say dog or coffee funny or call tennis shoes sneakers and get some crazy looks.

By then end of freshman year, I realized that being Jersey is what makes me Kelly. I started to not care as much when I did stick out, and so what if I was different, I was being me.

That is one thing I wish I knew when coming down here, is how much of an adjustment it is to adjust to Southern culture. I do love it, I still say y’all all the time, but I wish I was more comfortable with myself during those beginning months here.

It’s O.K. to be homesick once in a while

I can remember thinking, “It’s wimpy to get homesick you decided to go 16 hours away, you can’t get homesick.”

Boy was I wrong.

By the time Thanksgiving rolled around freshman year I was more than ready to go back to see my friends, family and most importantly my dog, Timmy. That week was exactly what I needed, home-cooked meals, my own room and hanging out with my BFFs. But I still went back to school fighting those homesick feelings, thinking I would be a wimp if I felt like I wanted to go home or missed it.

I wish I knew then that just calling my mom or dad, or texting one of my siblings would help with being homesick. I was so set on being tough and staying strong by fighting those feelings and pretending I didn’t miss home that it only made it worse.

It’s a bittersweet time ending my college years and starting a new chapter in my life, but come graduation I will be proud to say I “went” to Auburn University.

War Eagle!

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