Keilah Davis | Correspondent

Welcome to NC State! As a minority student at a predominately-white university, your transition to college won’t mirror that of your peers.

Sometimes people will wonder why you take so long to wash your hair in the shower. Sometimes you’ll question whether NC State was the right choice. But by the end of this year, you’ll have grown in ways you can’t yet imagine.

I hope the bits of advice in this letter help you make the most of your first year at NC State.

Mama Thorpe is easily one of the best people you’ll meet here. Her hugs are the encouragement you never knew you needed. Her wisdom is unparalleled. If you ever need some empowerment in your life, go talk to Mama Thorpe for 5 minutes.

It’s okay to miss home. You’ll probably miss it more than you anticipated. Call, text, or FaceTime your family and friends. Trust me, they want to hear from you.

Join the Nubian Message. (Yes, that was a shameless plug.) But seriously, you should join the clubs that interest you. Extracurricular activities are great ways to connect with people who have similar interests. With proper time management, they can also help you take a break from thinking about school work.

Connect with community. This can be people within your major, residence hall, or religious affiliation, or people you meet through clubs. Connecting with the right people helps build your support system. These people will help you study for that CH101 test or be available to vent about life at 2am.

Find mentors. Your mentor could be assigned through the Peer Mentor Program or simply be an upperclassman you admire. We still remember what it’s like to be a freshman and most of us would love to share our tips and tricks of surviving and thriving in college.

Don’t sleep through morning classes. While getting an extra hour of sleep sounds tempting, and you’ll convince yourself that it will only happen this one time, it is a slippery slope to poor attendance and a bad start for your GPA. If you are unlucky enough to have classes that start before 9am, push through it and hope for better luck next semester.

Your life is just beginning. You have at least three more years before you graduate and even more before you’ll actually have life figured out. No one is expecting you to have everything together. Take a deep breath, acknowledge your mistakes, and learn from them.

You’re not alone. Whether you’re dealing with homesickness, an identity crisis, feelings of inadequacy, or even something as simple as confusion about where your next class is located, there are other people experiencing it too.

Freshman year is all about discovering yourself so take any and every opportunity for growth. Try something outside of your comfort zone, whether that be pool battleship or taking a new language. Even if you fail, at least you tried something new.

When all else fails, remember what got you to NC State in the first place. You’re a talented individual who worked extremely hard to get to here. You also have a support system that is partially responsible for your success, thank them.

NC State is a complex, yet amazing place full of opportunities, so make the most of your time here and you should be just fine.