Advice for Freshman Frenchies

Salut la compagnie !

C’est bientôt la rentrée, ce qui est à la fois super excitant et terrifiant. Personnellement, j’étais tellement stressée que j’arrivais à peine à dormir/manger. J’espère que le problème de l’inscription, des paiements et du visa sont réglés ou sont sur le point de l’être, c’est le plus stressant, surtout le visa. Si je pouvais parler à mon moi d’il y a un an voilà ce que je me dirais ;

Dear Tysha,

You are about to get on the biggest journey of your entire life. There it is, the big jump. I know how terrified you must be and it is totally okay, it is fine. You are about to leave your dear friends and family and fly over the ocean to live on the other side of it, that’s super scary. You might or might not have close family there so you are most likely going to be on your own, that’s super scary. At some point, It might seem like the worst decision you’ve ever made but trust me, it will certainly turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever done. At first, you might be a little lost, because America is HUGE, no matter where you go, everything is big in America, the car, the roads, the houses, the people, everything. First of all, before I say anything else, IT’S OKAY IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING. Hey, you are in a whole different country and they have a culture completely different from yours. I thought that I wouldn’t have much of a culture shock and that I knew EVERYTHING about the USA, but boy was I wrong! That being said, though it will take you time to adapt, you will be okay, and whenever you fill overwhelmed by all this Americaness around you, pause and form a French bubble around you. Language is going to be a barrier sometimes, especially when you’re tired, but do not EVER beat yourself down for that. You will soon start thinking and dreaming in English, if that’s not the case already. Do not be shy if you have an “accent,” Americans are suckers for French accents. Talk as much as you want and don’t let the lack of vocabulary shut you down, CARRY A DICTIONARRY AROUND, in addition to the one you have on your phone, you might not have connection everywhere…

School wise, because that’s why you are going right?! Right. Let me tell you this, Americans students have a lot to say, and nobody nor nothing can stop them, take advantage of that and SPEAK UP in class. You have something on your mind, say it, whether it is relevant or not (try to make it relevant though). Befriend your professors, really, GO TO OFFICE HOURS, talk to them, get to know them, let them get to know you. I am not saying be friends with ALL of your professors, because that is not going to happen, but try to have a good relationship with most of them. I am not only saying that for the letters of recommendations you are going to need in the future but for the advice and the help they can offer you. Do not only befriend professors in your field, but also in other fields.  Secondly, DO YOUR HOMEWORK ON TIME. It is going to accumulate, like crazy so as soon as you have your classes and you syllabi, organize yourself! The coursework is probably going to be no joke and sleep might become a luxury. Yeah, I know it’s homecoming but what about that 10 pages paper for IS? My advice is to do as much as you can whenever you have some time so you can try to sneak a nap here and there. Use the study rooms or whatever room you are comfortable in, USE THE LIBRARY. As for the books you have to buy for classes, try to find them online for the cheapest price possible *coughs* free *coughs*, or at the library. Rent them if it is cheaper, they can sometimes cost A LOT of $$$.

It is OKAY not to have a squad, or a huge group of friends or whatever. Most likely, a lot of people are going to want to talk to you just because you are French. My advice on people, is to stay with the international students, and have some nice American friends. An international group of friends can be very helpful, because, just like you, they are wayyyyyy away from home and they are probably going to the same culture shock as you. I find people who have lived in big cities, or in different countries more open minded and friendlier than other people. Also, it helps when you want to go to São Paulo or Tokyo or London town, trust me. But also have American friends as they can help you integrate better by introducing you to American traditions. The friends you make in college are probably going to be your friends for life literally. As one of my girl puts it “You might not find your spouse in college but you sure as hell will find your bridesmaids.” Okay she didn’t curse but it adds a little peps to it. As for the friends that you left back home? Ah, going away for college is a good way to know who your true friends are. It’s okay if you don’t talk every day, you both won’t have the time anyway. Just make sure that you reach out to them as well, don’t expect them to always make the first call, they too are busy.

Lastly, enjoy every single second of your college experience, especially your first year, it is going to go by really fast.

PS:  Remember that you can recieve items via post but not liquids, so pack that suitcase up with lotions. Also I have trust issues with American everything, I mean medicine so I would say do not forget the doliprane, AND your birth control pill lady, for a few months until the next package come. Stuff are kind of cheaper here anyway so you do not need too much. Bring your pencil case, you reaaaaaally don’t want to leave it because of all the cool stuff written on it, but you can buy all your school supplies here. Do NOT, I repeat do NOT bring that pair of shoes, you’ve alredy packed eight. I know you love them but you do NOT need them and you and I both know that you are NOT going to wear them. So save some space for some meaningful items, do not forget the pictures. Really, you WILL want to have something to remind you of home from time to time, it will feel good to look at it, or to touch it, whatever you decide to bring.

Love, be great,


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