An Open Letter to My Freshman Friends

New school, new friends, maybe even a new city. It seems like so much all at once. It’s exciting, daunting even, to take the next big step in life and trek four years through a place that will become home.

So much freedom and free time (until midterms of course)! Time to think about your major, what classes you’ll take, which professor to take/avoid, and basically plan out your entire life for the first few weeks, because honestly, maybe it feels like you’ve got everything figured out by now considering you’ve made it this far. Take the classes, make lasting friendships, graduate, get a job, and land the career you’ve always wanted.

But, did you forget something? In the midst of the excitement, the stress, the joy of novelty and endless possibility – did you forget God? “Of course not!” you might reply, or at least that’s what I would’ve said as a freshman.


College is such an amazing time in life. It’s a strange concoction of positive and negative emotions that can only appeal to a teenage heart. You’re new here, but unlike high school, that’s not a bad thing. People are open, most are friendly, and you have a new-found freedom that you didn’t have before: the freedom to be who you want to be. College is formative and who you decide to be here is likely who you will be the rest of your life, whether you like it or not.

That’s why I asked the question, “Did you forget Him?” I entered college as someone who had been a Christian pretty my entire life. I came with my morality, I came with the way I had been raised, but what I forgot was my personal relationship with Christ. 

It’s needless to say that in college we face tons of distractions; some academic, some social. My problem was that I became obsessed with what I was going to do, who I was going to be friends with, and even what I was going to do after college. I had a plan for everything, and even though my religiosity didn’t fade, God did.

I forgot an important concept which a lot of us Christians may have heard once if not countless times: to do all things for the glory of God.

Not all of my plans came to fruition and I was frustrated, confused, and sometimes I felt defeated. I asked God begrudgingly, “If I’m a Christian, then why won’t You give methe victory?”

Now, I realize something I wish my freshman self knew: God’s plan is better than mine. It’s tempting to think that we know better, but God’s ways are so much higher! His Word is a testament to how He used people in ways they could have never imagined. Think of Moses, think of Saul who became Paul!

So, here’s my advice: in your collegiate glee, take it all in, but don’t lose sight of what’s truly valuable. God can use your time in college for something greater than yourself. He can use these four years, a small fraction of the life you’ll live, to have an everlasting impact on you and those around you. 

Will you let Him?

Emmanuel Soto