Dear 17 Year Old Briana,

Hold on tight little girl because you're about to be in for the awakening of a lifetime. You've left Queens behind and you're in New Rochelle with no one but yourself and 899 other freshmen who are just as scared as you. Don't be nervous though, I promise it'll be okay. 

It's okay to be scared and look around at this big(but not so big campus) with a deer in the headlights type of glare. You'll understand the layout of this place soon and you'll know it like the back of your hand.

Walk into your freshmen dorm with confidence and know that the other nine girls that you'll be living with are just as nervous as you are. You guys are strangers and soon enough, you'll become great friends. Some of you will have friendships that will last all four years while others will drift apart but cherish the time you are spending together. In four years, you'll be praying for move in day again.

Say hello to people, Bri. Don't be shy or nervous. Keep your dorm room door open and say hello to the girls across the hall. Everyone is looking to make friends and no one is going to side eye you...well maybe a few people will.

Go out to the parties, even the ones that you would roll your eyes at senior year aka rugby and frat parties. If you go to those parties, you'll be forced to make small talk and get out of your shell but that's the point.

Tropicana Thursdays will become your new best friend so take advantage of all of them. Tropicana won't be a thing in a year so put on a sparkly shirt, take a four loko to the face and have the time of your life.

Pay attention to the people around you because boys and girls you don't know or "know of" will become your best friends senior year...they may even become your family.

Go to all the events on campus, even if they seem kind of silly. You'll be grateful that you went and had those experiences. 

Your first round of recruitment will be rough but don't get discouraged. You may not get a bid but that just means you have some growing to do. Go back out sophomore year and your bids will be there. Everything happens for a reason and senior year, you'll be sorority women of the year. It'll all be worth it.

Keep up with your writing, take your education seriously, and learn to figure out the nights that you really need to get work done between the nights that you're just making excuses.

Don't get down in the dumps because of something silly and irrelevant. You won't remember why you stayed in those nights but you will remember the nights you went out and had the time of your life.

Go to the Fordham bars more and socialize with people outside of your floor. Your friends will reminisce senior year on the things you missed out and it'll bring you back to that place.

You'll share drunken heart to hearts with strangers who will become your best friends, you'll go to mixers, chapter meetings, and formals. You're going to get into arguments and there will be nights when you cry yourself to sleep. There will be mornings when you wake up and feel like a truck hit you and mornings where you are deathly embarrassed by something you said or did. Take it all in though, even the bad times because you'll look back and laugh at how silly you were but they're all lessons to be learned.

Your years will get better and better. Each year will have a special moment to remember for the rest of your life. Each year here will treat you special and you'll form a new memory that will never leave you.

Be patient, in all aspects of life. You'll find your place eventually. You'll find a fabulous group of sisters, a great group of fraternity men and friends that will be your family, forever.

Cherish every single moment. Do not take one moment for granted because this place is going to nurture you and keep you sane. It will make you into the person you are and the person you are meant to be.

Your life will change here, in so many ways. 

Throw those transfer papers in the garbage because you aren't going anywhere, Bri. You are a Gael and were always meant to be a Gael. 

Iona College will be the place where you make the life you always wanted. You will become the person you always wanted to be. 

You'll find love, happiness, leadership, friendship, sincerity, and all emotions in between. You'll find yourself here, I promise, I wouldn't lie to you.

Keep your head high, little one. Things will get better and once you leave this place, you'll be fighting to get back. I would know.

21 Year old Briana

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