My Freshman Year of College: Letters Home

I felt homesick my freshman year of college. I solved this with writing. I wrote in my diary, I wrote on my blog Stories for Strangers and I wrote funny blurbs about my life to family and friends back home. I wrote much to my sister Alexa, who was a junior in high school at the time dealing with a broken foot. She saved what I sent in a box. The other day we dug the old letters out and we had a laugh over some of the ridiculous things I said. Here it is to share with you.

When life got hard:

August 29, 2014

Dear Alexa,

I have been writing a lot of letters lately. On the off chance you feel like writing back I do like getting mail. Otherwise, I’m shouting into the void.

If you write back, you’ll hear more stories about my disdain for everyone around me, how I got locked out in my towel at 2:30 a.m. my first night of school, and how I met a girl on the team who lives in the same town as grandma and on impulse I said I live there too (technically I do not) but now I’m too deep in my web of lies to break free.

My roommate keeps wanting to be social with me and I am quickly running out of things to talk about. I’m not good with people. I had a moment of realization just now. I realized that I am awful at sharing. Sharing space, sharing time, it is all bad but the worst is learning to compromise. It’s my way or the highway.

I have practice so early in the morning too. I am nowhere near the level I should be. My first race is a home meet on the 13th. Please don’t come or let dad know. It’s going to be a disaster.

Don’t go to college,


When I quit collegiate sports after the first day:

September 1st, 2014

Hey Alexa,

Forget about the cross country problem. That’s not an issue anymore.

Try to come up on the 13th if you’re around. We can watch the race and hobble into town for pizza. With your broken foot and my broken dreams, we can laugh at the runners because we are not one of them.



After a particularly long night spent in a Harry Potter deep dive I hand wrote the best memes the internet had to offer:

September 9, 2014

Dear Alexa,

Okay, so why did everybody in the Harry Potter universe treat Luna like she was crazy… as if they didn’t already go to a wizarding high school?

Do you think Sirius ever ate James, Remus or Peter’s homework as a joke?

Why are there no teen moms at Hogwarts? A bazillion 16-year-olds and no frickle frack? Fetus deletus.

In the second book, Dobby shows up and tells Harry he has heard all about his greatness, but if Dobby is hardly ever allowed to leave Malfoy manner, how would he know these things? My money is on Draco.

Harry talked to himself a lot during the books, the “little voice” as the narrator sometimes called it. What if it was actually a real conversation with Voldemort via the Horcrux but neither party realized? So, that time Harry talked to himself about dating Ginny, it was really Voldemort saying, “She’s Ron’s sister!” Like wow, say what you will about Voldemort but he respects bro code.

Gryffindor: Do what is right.

Ravenclaw: Do what is wise.

Hufflepuff: Do what is kind.


Why is it that when Harry is bitten by the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets it failed to destroy the Horcrux inside him? Basilisk venom kills Horcruxes and yes the Pheonix tears saved him but why didn’t the Horcrux fight back like the rest of them did?

Come on, J.K. Rowling…


How it feels to be vegan and dislike alcohol in a college setting:

A picture I drew for Alexa, expressing my current mood.


When Alexa contracted lice:

February 2015

Dear Alexa,

I hear you’re in a hairy situation!

I’m sorry you feel so… louse-y.

The dog on the front of this card sympathizes with your situation because he also has fleas.

See, the joke here is that I make a few hair puns, relate to your situation, and convey sympathy while remaining deeply uncomfortable.

To be honest I used to be sort of envious of the kids who contracted lice in school. I never had it because I never had friends.

At least you have people in this world with whom to share parasites and hair-to-hair contact!

Burn everything,


My end of the year review:


What I wish I knew my freshman year of college:

  • Felt hangars save space.
  • Bring a power strip and an extension cord.
  • It gets colder sooner than you think in the Northeast. Bring a jacket.
  • Plan a lunch break into your class schedule if you want to eat.
  • Develop a healthy relationship with exercise. It can be stress relief instead of stressful if you allow it to be.
  • Exchange phone numbers with someone in your class and follow through with homework help or friendship.
  • The library is your friend. Take advantage of resources available to you like a writing help center.
  • You will not use or wear half the items you bring.
  • Candles leave obvious soot on the walls and are not allowed. If you break the rules sponge down your walls before vacations.
  • It snows sooner than you think it will. Bring a decent pair of winter shoes that won’t get wet.
  • The clothes dryers rip your laundry to shreds and do not work. Dry everything on a drying rack instead.
  • A plant in your room makes the white prison walls less depressing and distracts from the general squalor.
  • Stock up on breakfast foods for those cold mornings when you don’t feel like trudging across campus to the dining hall at 8 a.m.
  • Learn the town’s bus routes. You can usually ride for free with a student I.D. and a method for escape is good if you need it.
  • School events are fun. They feed you and give you free things.
  • Seriously, do not bring everything you own. You will not use it.

Go to college,



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