Give It A Year – My Advice to Incoming Freshman

Written by Jennifer Essery, Class of 2022

When move-in day arrived, I was terrified. I had never been away from home for more than a week and the thought of being away from my friends and family was the worst thing I could imagine at the time. It seemed like everyone around me was so excited for what was awaiting them at college, but I wasn’t ready to leave. For the first two weeks, I cried every single day and called my mom, begging her to let me come back home. She denied my request, which only led to more tears. I felt like everyone had already found their place, but I was struggling to find mine. I was overcome with fear that my next four years would be filled with the same sadness I felt in those moments. In a later phone call to my mom, she told me to give it a semester; to give Sacred Heart a fair chance to feel like home. So, I started my countdown until winter break.

College is said to be the best four years of your life, but what do you do when it feels like the worst?

I ask you to give Sacred Heart a year. During this year, study as hard as you can, try as many new things and meet as many people as possible. There will be sleepless nights as you cram a semester’s worth of material into one night for an exam. There will be tears and, in my case, lots of them. You will be homesick. There will be anxiety and panic over your academics. There will even be moments where your emotions overtake you, and you feel helpless. These are the moments I stared at my countdown, wishing time would fly by faster. But there will also be times you and your new friends laugh so hard it hurts; the moments I had forgotten all about the countdown ticking away on my phone.

Sacred Heart will welcome you with open arms, but the only way to make the most of it is to have open arms too. Take advantage of every opportunity you are given, but don’t be afraid to make them for yourself. Know that you will have bad days. I tell you this not to scare you, but to remind you that college is real life. You had bad days in high school, and you will still have them now. But you will also see some of the best days of your life thus far. You will make friends that make you wonder how you survived 18 years without them. I have met people that have turned SHU into a home, which is what I was so scared of leaving behind. I will always look back on memories from freshman year with joy, thankful I chose to stay. The best thing I can tell you is to live in the moment and savor every second, because the day will come where your countdown runs out, and you have to pack up that freshman dorm.

The decision that began as the scariest thing I had ever done has given me memories I will never forget. Now halfway through my time here, I would jump back to that first night in Seton Hall in a heartbeat. I gave Sacred Heart a year, and I couldn’t be happier I did.

By Corey Stokes
Corey Stokes Associate Director of Career Student Engagement