Dear M-S-P-F-M,

This is your slightly older, far wiser self speaking. Put down your pen, stop making your 5th “college supplies” shopping list. You had all of your necessities by mid-June, and at this point you’re just going to Target for the $5 or less section and the in-store popcorn machine. LISSEN UP. I have several pieces of advice for you in all of your pre-frosh naiveté.

You’re going to see a big Facebook event on the Class of 2018 page for the Summer Blogging Competition. DO IT. I mean, you do do it, but just in case my speaking to you now happens to mess up the time vortex or something, DO THE COMPETITION. I know for a fact that you’re currently seated at the dining room table and nervously reading over the requirements 6 times over whilst listening to upbeat music in some weird attempt to motivate yourself to enter the competition. Yes, it is weird, but let its weirdness work on you. This will be your first, oddly validating “Hopkins experience” — or at least, it will certainly feel that way — and you’ll be glad you had it. Take a chance !  It’s practically your freshman year of college. Time to give your comfort zone the old “Sayonara.”

your new computer for college, which you immediately named "Sheila" and typed your blog competition entry on :--')

your new computer for college, which you immediately named “Sheila” and typed your blog competition entry on :–‘)

Another thing: s t o p trying to predict what Hopkins will be like, what your first month will be like, what your first semester  will be like, and yes, what your first YEAR will be like. This is, without a doubt, the biggest energy waster of your Summer 2014, even above your Parks & Rec marathons. Pretty much the only thing you manage to correctly predict is that your room will look straightup dapper with that new comforter you just bought. Everything else — the friends you make, the groups you join, the amount and variety of food you eat, the Balti explorations you have — is going to take you completely by surprise and, for the most part, knock your socks off. Halfway through the year, you’ll have a mini-breakthrough about what you may actually want to do with your life, and I guarantee you, it won’t be an idea you’ll immediately settle on during your first month here. Forget your preconceptions of Orientation Week, mid-terms, finals, etc. Just have some Cinnamon Toast Crunch, watch some Parks and Rec, and know that Leslie Knope will be your spirit guide through it all.

FINALLY, M-S-P-F-M, keep an open mind. As summer draws to an end, you’re going to start noticing a fair about of hometown minutiae that will begin to make you second-guess your decision to leave the great city of Pittsburgh, the great small town of Dormont, the great crib that is Molly’s Bedroom in Molly’s House.

Appreciate these minutiae for what they are, and live in the moment. These last two months are important; stay present in them. Appreciate the way the sunlight glistens through the big cherry tree in the backyard, appreciate your library co-workers, appreciate the idiosyncrasies of your fellow Pittsburghers and various neighborhood views on the train into town, appreciate Mom’s homemade hummus, appreciate the patches of old brick road that dot the landscape of Dormont, even though they’re a huge pain to drive on.

during your last month home, you'll take a crazy amount of these kinds of pictures and hide them away on your computer forever.

during your last month home, you’ll take a crazy amount of these kinds of pictures and hide them away on your computer forever, because you have many feelings and for some reason can only express them in pictures of sunrise/sunset.

You know your hometown freakishly well, you’ve lived in Pittsburgh your entire life, and homesickness will be a surprisingly small hindrance on your transition into college. Trust that you can handle it, and that it’s time to learn a new place & have new adventures, no matter how cliche the concept. I promise, you’ll create an experience that could only be possible at Hopkins.

OK ! That’s my schpiel. Stay hydrated (last summer it was really hot, but this summer it’s super rainy and cloudy here in pgh), write your blog competition entry, and don’t worry !! Everything’s going to be just dandy.

Yours truly,