Scholarly Sentiments of an Aging Child

Dear Freshman Nat,

First of all, your hair looks amazing. Don’t go getting all angsty and chopping it all off because you crave change but are too cheap for a tattoo.

Secondly, congratulations on keeping your grades up, you nerdy nerd, you! I know your insides secretly beam each time you crack open a text book full of new worlds and concepts. You try to act cool but deep down you are dumbfounded that a place like college exists where thinking and obsessive studying are valued.

I must admit, I wish I could be in your position. All that nerding out will result in graduating a semester early, forcing you into the real world where people don’t always hold doors open and sitting under trees reading Kant all afternoon isn’t always an option. Sorry. Try skipping a few classes and failing some finals so you can stay a bit longer.

All joking aside, you did a pretty swell job being a freshman. You didn’t wear a lanyard or excessive JMU gear. You probably should invest in some kind of JMU t-shirt or sweatshirt or something, though, because at this rate you still won’t have one even in your last semester.

Also, please go to football games. I know you have “cooler” plans, but for real, show a little school spirit every once in a while. You love this place and you know you will desperately hold on to every moment like it’s the last. Every leaf you crunch on the walk to ISAT, those goofy pictures with friends, shameless naivety and blooming sense of self all add up to the sum of one amazing first year at JMU.

Those cool older friends of yours are right: these four years will disappear before you even have a chance to streak the quad. Keep having ridiculous adventures and partaking in shenanigans and talking to strangers, young Nat. You won’t regret a single moment of your time as a freshman, except maybe the fact that you can’t live every second for an entire year. Please fall helplessly in love and go to those archery club interest meetings and hang out with those kids who would make your parents cringe. Listen to those psychedelic bands and try to get dreds and take night time walks around campus when you can’t sleep. This place is your mental and emotional playground, so don’t take it too seriously. Friends and feelings come and go but the sense of freedom echoes with each Wilson Hall bell toll, on the hour, reminding you to return to reality.

You’re doing great, kid. I know you worry about the future, which will probably always be a habit of yours. You have too big of a heart and sense of adventure not to do wonderful things—don’t forget that. You have a lot to learn about yourself but I’m sure you’ll be taking notes and calculating moments of inspiration as if they were going to be on a midterm.

Keep being awkward and don’t forget to call home every once in a while!

See you around,

Senior Nat

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