Dear first year Gabriel,

This is your future self writing to the current you. First things first, stop whatever you are doing and sell all of your Jordan, Lebron, and Kobe basketball sneakers. They will not maintain their fashion relevance through college and at best you will wear them once a week. If you are still dubious of this immediate call to action, just trust that your feet will thank you physically and your pockets will thank you fiscally. On a lighter note, congratulations on embarking on the finest years of your life. Spoiler Alert, it’s going to be legen…..wait for it…..dary! I would give you the answers on how to avoid making certain mistakes but you and I both agree that messing up is half of the learning process. Instead I’ll offer you some general advice, so that maybe you can achieve your “A-Ha moments” more quickly.

When it comes to living on campus, here are a few things you might want to take note of… 
-Really go all out when decorating your room. It’ll help it feel more like home and random people will stop by to check it out. That’s how you make new friends.
-Put those 19 punches a week to good use and explore all of your dining options. Festival and E-hall will always be solid choices but you just might find your favorite meal on another side of campus.
-Go to the other sides of campus! Each area of campus has its own culture and community associated with it and they all are pretty interesting.
-If you listened to my earlier advice then your room is probably pretty awesome, which as it turns out is a gift and a curse. Make sure that you periodically force yourself to get out of your room and go hang out other places.

When it comes to your school and academic work make sure to… 
-Get glasses. You may have lied to yourself for many years but there is no denying your eyesight is atrocious. Don’t believe me? Try sitting past the third row in any class.
-Sit in the very first seat of every single class and I mean the very front. You should be close enough to smell and name whatever fragrance the professor is wearing.
-Ask questions and do all the homework. This isn’t high school; it’s not cool to be dumb anymore.

When it comes to your social life… 
-Do you remember all of those movies you watched about college parties? Well, going out is nothing like that. It’s actually quite the endeavor. There is so much preparation and logistics that go into planning the perfect night out at college that the effort is rarely worth it. Your best bet is to participate in everything possible that the university hosts on on-campus. The events are always a safe choice and you’ll end up creating more sustainable friendships that way.
-Put yourself out there for every situation and get yourself comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Once again, great job on getting into such a great college. Mom and Dad are proud of you. Just remember, college is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.

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