A letter to my freshman self

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Kamrin Baker
Digital Editor

Kamrin Baker in her freshman year at UNO. Photo by Kamrin Baker/The Gateway

Hi baby Kam,

By now, you’ve realized that the minute you’ve enrolled as a Maverick at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, every person even just a minute older than you has told you how quickly your college experience will go by. You laugh and remember that’s what everyone said about high school, middle school– and hell, even kindergarten, if you can even remember the agony of learning to tie your shoes. And yeah, those times in life went by quickly, and yeah, you definitely want to forget the times those high school girls threatened to vandalize your car, or when you got your period for the first time–-or when, in third grade, people were already asking you about higher education. But somehow, you’re here. Now. In college.

Gosh, look at you. You’re so tiny! (the Freshman 15 is real, but you’ll also grow woman hips pretty soon, too. Puberty lasts until you’re like 25, by the way, and no one tells you that). Don’t worry, in this time, you’ll learn to love yourself exactly as you are. I know I sure love you, and I wish I would have shown you that more during your first year at UNO. Your eyes are so bright and expectant; it’s inspiring. I know you feel like you’re at the bottom of the totem pole again, but even now, when I am just two years into college, I’m already jealous of your nuance. Hold onto that.

Hold onto your curiosity: about your school and your community, but also about yourself. Rushing to grow up won’t make you happier or more prepared, but simply more stressed about paying bills and being something you’re not. Like, girl, I give you permission to get the folders with the puppies on them. You’re going to be really glad you picked up the pug-themed school supplies somewhere around midterms.

That being said, don’t freak out when your tastes start to change. It’s going to happen, and you’re going to be like “why the hell do I like blush pink now?” but just go with it. Like, listening to your Freshman Year playlist on Spotify today is just so cute, but I know you cried to “Wild Things” by Alessia Cara, so I’m going to let you have it. You don’t have anyone to prove wrong, even though it’ll definitely feel like you do.

Follow your heart, but also attempt to break out of your comfort zone. Go to club meetings, say hi to people, apply for the job even if you don’t feel qualified. But don’t spread yourself too thin. You’ll do it anyway, and then be like “aw man why did I do that?” It will be at this time that you’ll get comfortable with the word “no,” and you’ll learn what you really want to spend your time doing. Spoiler alert: it’s still going to be writing stories for the school newspaper.

You’re going to try being an RA, and a club treasurer, and an unpaid intern, and a volunteer, and a workout guru (only for like a month though), and a little bit of everything, and none of those personas will be right for you. But you have to embrace them. That’s where you’ll meet your best friends, learn things that would have flown right over your head, humble you, teach you life skills, and give you a better taste in music. But just know: your soul is most at home storytelling–-let her speak.

Even though I know you’re going to mess up and make stupid decisions, it still feels weird to give you advice because I wouldn’t change a single thing about your early college career.

You brought me here, to a place in time where I am very grateful to have been in your shoes. But I’m also happy I got Doc Martens this year, so just a head’s up there. But for now, enjoy your first pair of Adidas Superstars, superstar. You’re doing everything exactly as you need to.

And it’s all going to go by so quickly.

Kamrin Baker in her junior year at UNO. Photo by Tim Sohl.

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