Dear Freshman Self

It is actually unbelievable to me that this is my THIRD school year to be starting at Liberty. Contrary to what everyone thinks, this should be my senior year! But, after sitting a little while out, I’ll be taking a little longer. So this is the start to my more-than-a-junior, not-quite-a-senior year.

This first week has been a little funky, just finding classes and getting books and figuring out a new routine. But amongst that and the dreary weather I am so happy to be here.

I am so happy this is my school and the place I am getting to call home for a while.

I am so happy to see old friends and to be meeting new ones.

I am so happy to have the privilege to learn and to sit under people who are excited to teach me.

I am so happy to be in our cozy, little home.

And I just wish so badly I could go back in time and talk to the just-starting-at-Liberty Mary Kate.

I was thinking about that and thinking about how many girls may be out there feeling the same way I was two years ago. I was starting a new college and I was away from my family and friends. I was super uncomfortable and nervous. I cried my first day of class and I think everyday for the rest of the week. After completing a week there was one thing I knew for sure:

I did NOT want to go back.

At. All.

 But sitting here now I am so glad I did. So if anybody else is feeling that right now, this is what I wish I could go back and tell myself…

Dear 1st-year-at-Liberty Mary Kate:

I know it’s been a rough week. You miss home. You miss your family. You miss your friends. I’m sorry you’re hurting, but it IS going to be ok. Whether you believe it right now or not, you are going to love it here. You are going to THRIVE here. I know right now you are uncomfortable, but before you know it you will find comfort here. It’s good to be uncomfortable though. Even though it hurts, it’s only in the uncomfortable you will GROW. You are going to learn so much and grow so much.

Mary Kate, keep God as your first priority. Go into each day with the mindset that you want to know Him better. You’re trying to figure out how to be joyful again, but just focus on God…when you are filled with His Spirit the joy will come with that! I’m so glad you are listening to worship music getting ready in the morning and on your way to class. That’s such an amazing way to declare the truth you know. Keep worshipping and keep declaring what you know to be true! It also helps you to dwell on the Lord.

I know you feel like everybody else at school knows each other, but they do not. You came to a new school 15-hours from home and barely know a soul, but there are a TON of other students in the same boat as you! There’s people you’re walking by and sitting by that want friends JUST as bad as you do. And guess what! You can be that friend! When you’re in line in the bathroom, ask the person beside you how their day is going. Hold the door for someone. Even just smiling at a person could make their whole day! Be a kind human. And who knows….maybe they’ll talk back or smile back! 9 times out of 10 they will.

MK, make sure you are taking advantage of what your school has to offer! There’s so many opportunities so why not just take them?! Stop trying to stay away from campus and just go see what it’s got to offer. I know a lot of the time it’s easier to stay in bed and watch Netflix, but push yourself to get out and try new things. College is such a SPECIAL time of life and it’ll be ending before you know it, so have fun and try new things. Instead of thinking of all the things you are missing out at home, look at all the incredible things God is putting in your life where you are. (You’ve even painted a sign in your house now that says “Wherever you are, be all there.”) Find the beauty in the little things throughout your day.

I know you don’t even want to go back to your second week, but I also know you can hear God telling you that you are where you’re supposed to be. You can see Him providing for you. Just keep looking at how He’s moving in your life. Hold onto that. Trust Him. He’s got a GOOD plan for your life and has got AMAZING things for you in store at Liberty.

It was a tough first week, but the relationships and the experiences are going to be SO worth it. I promise. You’re going to love it. You might not love it after next week, next month, or even by the end of the year. But stick it out, because you WILL love it.


3rd-year-at-Liberty Mary Kate

p.s. Buy a winter coat. Louisiana girls are NOT cut out for the cold.


36 comments so far.

36 responses to “Dear Freshman Self”

  1. Rachel says:

    Hey, I am a freshman at Liberty this year and love this post! I’m 12 hours away from my family and this first week has been CRAZY and so overwhelming. BUT I know God has me here for a reason…tons of reasons. Before I came I said that when I go, I want to be ALL there; present for every experience and not holding onto to anything that could be a hinderance of what God has planned for me. I can’t wait to look back on this roller coaster of a season of life (as I know it will be) as you have and see all that God has done. Thanks for the encouragement!!

    • Christy says:

      Oh man 12 hours!! I am praying for you!!! I am also a freshman at Liberty and I think this transition is so so hard. Thank goodness He is good.

      • marykate says:

        You will love it! All of you girls who said you are going here should meet each other haha.

  2. Rachel says:

    My husband and i just finished our first week of college and thank you thank you! This is so encouraging and exactly what I needed to hear right now.

  3. Raechel Stevens says:

    I don’t think that I could have wrote a more accurate description of my first week of college, even to the point of being a freshman here at Liberty!! I cried reading through this becuse it’s so relatable, but so, so encouraging! Thank you!

  4. Mariah says:

    thank you so much for posting this! I’m a freshman at LU and this week has been incredibly draining. This was just what I needed:)

    • Christy says:

      I’m a freshman at LU Too and I feel the exact same way!!! Praying for you girl!! (And thank you Mary Kate for being vulnerable and sharing)

  5. Emma says:

    Currently in your freshman year shoes and having an experience that is very similar to yours. I’m impatiently learning how to wait for God’s perfect timing & His faithfulness is shown when we are out of our comfort zone. Thanks for sharing and for the encouragement to preserve.

  6. Sierra Jumps says:

    That was amazing!!! I feel exactly like that & it’s my sophomore year. I’m so happy you’re loving it & I hope I can too. Thanks girl!

  7. Ariel Henderson says:

    Thank you so much, Mary Kate for posting this! This has truly been a blessing on me today! It’s exactly what I needed to help me carry through this challenging season of my life. God bless!

  8. Margaret Steffie says:

    I just want to thank you for this post. Being in college I have had similar struggle and while I am working toward improving my situation your post has given me strength.

  9. leelee montgomery says:

    thank you for this!!

  10. Kate says:

    Thank you so much for writing this Mary Kate! I am going into my 3rd week of my sophomore year in high school and it has been rough so far. I’m not excited to go back tomorrow, but this encouraged me so much and it felt like God was speaking directly to me, through your letter! It was such an encouragement and I will continue to read this over.
    Ps, do you have a bible passage or verse that comes to mind when you wrote this or reflect on it? If you do, I would love to read that passage as one to cling to and to memorize .

  11. Regan says:

    I love this so much!! I had such a hard freshman year and it hasn’t gotten easier so this is exactly what I needed to hear!

  12. Becca G says:

    Literally what I needed to hear at this second as I am in the beginning of my freshmen year at Purdue, Boiler up! Thank you so much for pouring your God loving heart into this blog!

  13. Emma moystner says:

    Thank you so much! I started my first week of college last week. And it’s been rough, I know no one and have no friends right now. So I’m kind of hating it. But I know friendships don’t happen in a day, but man do I sure wish they did. It’s just really hard being in a place where you are trying your best to walk the walk with Jesus and other don’t care about that.

  14. Chloe Ruth says:

    I am in my first year here at Liberty, and I am feeling the exact same way you did. That I do not belong here, that I don’t like it, and that I just want to go home. But God has already taught me so much just in this first week! This is where I am now, and he has brought me here for a reason. I’m uncomfortable, but like you said, it’s only in the uncomfortable that I will GROW. (Writing that one on a note card and sticking it in my journal 😉 ) God has brought me here to stretch me and to teach me to TRUST him. It has been so hard to admit to myself, but I know that this is where I’m supposed to be, and I know that it will get better. I am under construction, and God is the builder. He is a FAITHFUL builder, and he knows what he’s doing! This post was a huge encouragement, especially the part about pushing yourself to get out and try new things; thank you for posting. 🙂

    • Christy says:

      Hey!!! I’m also a freshman at Liberty and feeling the exact same way! Praying for all of us!

  15. Isabella Idol says:

    Thank you for this!!! I am a freshman at Wake Forest and it’s nothing like what I thought it would be and it seems to get harder every day. I just started my second week and have been just as emotional as you were, if not more, and I want to go home more than anything. I miss my family and everyone I love so much, but this made me feel like I’m not alone. I’m not religious, but your faith in something good makes me feel stronger. Thank you for sharing your experiences and for helping me out.

  16. Lindsay Kate says:

    Not in college yet lol but I am still in School and that was very encouraging! Especially your sign “wherever you are be all there” I REALLY like that! Also, I ABSOLUTELY love your bag and shirt…well pretty much your whole outfit haha!

  17. Amelia Rutherford says:

    Man did i need this! I am in my sophomore year at Texas A&M, four hours from home, and still struggling. I spent my freshman year depressed and insecure. Now that I am back I am so determined to never feel those things again, but the enemy keeps whispering the old habits in my ear and I find it hard not to be reminded. But this encouraged me so much! Someone I look up to felt the very same way I did, and still do. I think it’s just a matter of constantly speaking God’s truth over myself to erase the defeat I was used to.
    Thank you for sharing ?

  18. Ashley Tyler says:

    I am a freshman at LU now and can definitely relate to what you wrote. Love this Mary Kate!!

  19. Rachel says:

    Ahh this is awesome! my freshman year looked ALOT like this too and now (also going into my junior year) the Lord has completely flipped my heart for my school and the community here! so YES the Lord has a purpose and a place prepared for each of us wherever we go!

  20. Mikayla says:

    Thank you so so much for this. Every word is exactly what I’ve been feeling and I read this at such a tough time, that I know it was God talking to me through this. Wow. Thank you.

  21. Hayley says:

    This is exactly what I am feeling right now as a freshmen! It’s so different from anything I’ve ever experienced before, but I know God has a plan for me. Thank You MK!

  22. Em says:

    I needed this!! I’m a freshman & have been super homesick, but this made me feel more confident that it’ll get better 🙂 thank you for being so encouraging!

  23. Jamie says:

    This is the first blog post of yours that I’ve read but God knew what I needed!

    I am 29 and just moved across the country to pursue a master’s degree. Even though it’s not the first time I’m in college, it may as well be because all the newness makes me feel like I’m an 18 year old freshman in undergrad again! But I know I am right where God wants me…even if it doesn’t seem like it quite yet…

  24. Hannah says:

    thanks so much for this post MK, it came at just the right time for me. I’m going back to school tomorrow & even though it’s the same school, most of my friends have left & im starting new classes and I’ve been very nervous about it. this was so encouraging to read, thank you?

  25. There is so much truth in this! You are blessing so many people by sharing your story 🙂

  26. Emma says:

    This is exactly what I needed to hear and I’m only a senior in high school! I have definitely been trying to find my joy, but like you said, everything that I’m desiring will fall into place if I’ll simply seek and focus on God. Thank you for this!

  27. Ashton says:

    Oh my gah I so needed to hear this!! I just started my first week of high school and it hasn’t been the greatest. It’s been uncomfortable but I’m believing there’s such purpose in the reason why I’m in a class with the people I’m with. Grateful for you and your wisdom!

  28. Alex says:


    Thank you for this! I am in my Junior year of college and I am a transfer students, so the university life is a whole lot different. Reading this is something I wish I told myself my freshman year, and to just enjoy the opportunity I have been given!

    God Bless!!

  29. Lauren Pothitakis says:

    Is this a swimsuit you have on in the pictures?? If so, where did you get it from? Thanks!

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