What of the freshmen mentioned in the Survival Stories in each of our previous chapters? Some continued to flounder but most came out just fine.
- Laurie (Chapter 1) found some great friends that give as much as they take.
- Tom (Chapter 6) took awhile to get over the girl who’d broken his heart but he did learn to proceed with a little more caution when it came to falling for someone.
- Abby (Chapter 7) was lost for awhile. She’s ok now but it took nearly a year for her to come to terms with the idea that maybe Luke wasn’t as great a person as he seemed.
- Kelly (Chapter 8 ) takes better care of herself now and though dealing with mental health issues will always be an extra thing she has to pay attention to it’s something that the people who are close to her know about and can help her keep an eye on.
- James (Chapter 10) still likes to party a little more than is good for him (or anyone). He graduated from community college but is still living at home and grudgingly working retail.
- Matt the procrastinator (Chapter 12) rescued his senior semester and though he’s not working in his field just yet, he landed a great summer internship.
- Kate (Chapter 18) never really got over wanting to go it alone and ended up dropping out.
- It took Nick (Chapter 20) years to realize he needed to quit drinking if he wanted to hang onto a job or a relationship but he finally did it.
- Since the night of the party, Leah (chapter 24) has a hard time with new people and new situations, she was in counseling for awhile which helped a lot and now is just really careful about alcohol, parties and people.
- Mike, Erin, Jeff, Kyra, Jim, Sam, Sarah, Janie, & Anna hung in there, got through the learning curve and are steaming along into sophomore, junior, and senior year.
Over the past 20 years working with teenagers, Freshman Survival Guide co-author Nora Bradbury-Haehl has worked with hundreds of students who have gone on to college. Some of those who struggled the most freshman year went on to really love college and especially what came after.
- Courtney dreaded talking to her parents about changing her major to environmental engineering (this was a few years ago, back when ‘green’ was just a color) but she did it and made the switch. Since graduation she’s been an Americorps Volunteer, had a job running the recycling program for the city of Cambridge, and now works at a company that helps local governments track and reduce their energy use.
- Brian learned Spanish and spent a semester living and working with the poor in El Salvador.
- After graduation Becca taught with Teach for America and is now going to Columbia.
- John is a rocket scientist, really, designs stuff for NASA.
- Dave teaches English in Japan.
- Alana studied in Spain.
- Claire went to France.
- Brigid interned in London and then moved on to corporate communications in Manhattan.
Freshman year is sometimes great, and sometimes it’s just the muck you have to slog through to get to the good stuff- the life making, world changing things that everyone wishes they could do.