What Grace as a Senior Would Tell Her Freshman Self

Next Saturday, I’m taking my beautiful girl back for her senior year of college. For all of those people who told me that a child’s college years go by in the blink of an eye, I’m here to confirm they were absolutely right.

I often feel badly for Grace that because she’s my oldest–she has sometimes gotten caught in the crosshairs of me learning some of life’s big lessons. If anyone remembers me getting Grace ready for her freshman year, I was in a constant state of tears. Didn’t seem to matter where I was…Jewel, Target, Forever Om…I was always crying like a baby that it was time to let Grace go. I wish I could have a do-over of those months for so many reasons, but mainly because it should have been the happiest time for her. We’d been on a journey for 18 years to get her to where she was–starting her first year at the only college she ever really wanted to go to–and I’m sure my sadness dampened her college start. There will always be part of me that will be trying to make that up to her. While leaving the kids at school never seems to get easier for me, one thing that has changed for sure. I know that’s where they need to be. College is perfectly timed to give kids the freedom and resources they need to grow up that we can’t give them when they’re at home. It really is a happy time…for all of us…and that gives me peace.

With those lessons learned, there’s a ton of excitement for the year Grace has ahead of her. She will be a Resident Assistant in one of Notre Dame’s most beloved dorms–Walsh Hall–and has a section of girls that she’s just dying to meet. Last spring, Grace put together a guide to help students healthily navigate the dining halls at college. Soon, she’ll be releasing an expanded version of that tool that will talk about how to successfully have a healthy life in college (eating well, balanced exercise rituals, getting enough sleep, making time for fun). She’ll be the first to admit that she’s still working on a few things herself, but she does have some great insights on how to avoid some of the pitfalls she discovered when she first got on campus. I promise to share this once it launches.

In the meantime, I asked Grace if she would share some things she wished she knew before she got to Notre Dame and what her packing must-haves are.

Words from Grace

Things I Wish I Knew

  • You will fall apart. Probably a couple of times. Know that it won’t be smooth sailing, but that you can pick yourself up afterwards and you will be better for it. ASK FOR HELP, and drop the extra class or extracurricular if it feels like too much.

  • Your friends will change—a lot. There will be the people you meet at the beginning of freshman year, but those probably aren’t your forever friends. If your friend group starts to shift second semester, or you feel like they aren’t really your people after all, that is totally normal. It might take years until you find your forever friend(s) at school! And that is okay.

Must Haves

  • 10-foot long chargers and extension cords: Sometimes there are only 2 outlets in the entire room so you gotta make the most of them!

  • Body pillows: My body pillow has always been a nice buffer between me and the questionable cleanliness of my dorm room wall. Plus, it helps make the bed feel like a little sanctuary that you can retreat to at the end of the day.

  • A mini fridge with a good freezer: We lucked out and ended up randomly picking out a mini fridge that had a separate freezer compartment instead of the little box that comes inside some fridges. I honestly used the freezer more than the regular fridge! Good for frozen meals/snacks, and one of my quirks is that I love keeping baked goods in the freezer.

  • Snacks: Make sure your room is well-stocked for late-night study sessions or times when you just don’t feel like trekking out to the dining hall.

I hope this is helpful…student tips from the student herself!

I’m working on a post from my son who will be a junior this year. He promised me that it’s coming…but all good things take time. Ha!


Pictures of Grace and me by Jenn Marie Photography and Robin Subar

For those who might be interested, my dress is from Madewell and is on super sale right now.

My name is Ann Marie Scheidler and I'm thrilled you've decided to check out my blog. I'm a pearl-loving yogi with a thing for travel, a weakness for beautiful bags, and a passion for storytelling. In this space, I'll be sharing stories about my family, go-to recipes, my wellness journey, fashion and beauty favorites, and my love for Chicago’s North Shore. I find new inspiration wherever I go. Thanks so much for coming along for the ride!


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  1. Alicia Nagy wrote:

    It has gone by in a flash! Grace will be an RA where her cousin lived and her grandpa snd great uncle! Congratulations!

    Posted 8.2.21 Reply