An Open Letter to Freshmen
You’ve probably been dreaming of college all your life, and it’s finally here! You must be insanely excited, maybe a little scared, even apprehensive? I know it must feel so strange, to be leaving home and having to call your own shots now. You’ll miss your old school, your friends, all the memories of the home you’re not willing to let go of just yet. Days are going by pretty fast, aren’t they? Soon you’ll find yourself standing outside your new home, with a suitcase filled to the brim, in the infamous Manipal rain.
The last few months, maybe even years, have been a little tough. You’ve worked so hard to get to where you’re going and it’s all finally paid off. If your goal was Manipal, congrats on making it! But to those who dreamed of a different college, maybe even a different career, here’s something for you. It doesn’t matter what’s transpired up to this point. What matters is where you’re going, because the story’s not over yet. You have your entire life ahead of you, an eternity to reach your destination. This a stepping stone, and if you can just keep the target in sight, you’ll get there no matter what. At Manipal, you’ll find there’s something for everyone. Learning is never a waste. You’ll find out things about yourself here, you never knew existed. This is your chance to make the most of what you’ve got, because I guarantee you’ll never again find a support system quite like this. So chin up, the best years of your life are yet to come.
Leaving your family behind will probably be the hardest part. But you’ll come to find a second family here. Before you know it, your roommate will become a mother, father and sibling all rolled into one. Your friends will become your confidantes, your nurse, your personal ATM, your teacher, your family. It’ll be astounding how people you’ve never met before, from all over the country, will suddenly become your home away from home. Sure, you’ll find yourself complaining about the food (nothing will ever match Mom’s rotis) and the weather, but it will only make you appreciate home more. Remember to call your parents every day; they’ll miss you just as much as you’ll miss them.
I’m sure you’re nervous about your new class, just remember they’re all probably as nervous as you are. Be excited, for you’ll learn a lot of things inside and outside class that will change the way you see the world. You will learn to overcome heartbreaks, petty fights, miscommunication. You’ll learn the importance of attendance, and the art of sleeping with your eyes open. You’ll learn how to get to class on time, when you woke up only ten minutes ago. Don’t be afraid of studies and exams – just remember to work hard, and work smart.
There is so much Manipal has to offer to you, so don’t be afraid to try a million things, and learn a million lessons. College is exciting, college is fun, but remember college will mould you into who you’ll be as a person and as an adult. Explore yourself, and what the world has to offer. You’ll come across a lot of things you’re probably not acquainted with, just remember to ask yourself if you’re doing what’s best for you. Remember to make your parents proud, because they’ve trusted you to step away from home and be whoever you choose to be.
Manipal is full of memories just waiting to happen. College seems like a long journey, but it will be over before you know it. You’ll find yourself wondering how all that time just seemed to slip through your fingers. You’ll explore places and different cuisines, learn new languages and cultures. Stay true to yourself, even if you don’t quite know who that is yet. Enjoy your time here; before you know it, you’ll be ready to step into the world with nothing but a degree and a thousand memories. So chin up, folks, and welcome to Manipal. Welcome home.
~Nidhi Rao for MTTN
Photographers: Anmol Rathi and Niharika Nayak