This Letter From a College Freshman to Parents Will Make You Cry

There I was, two nights before move-in day, relaxing in bed and about to fall asleep when the soft and fuzzy feeling previously associated with leaving suddenly disappeared. My mind flooded with all the changes I was about to encounter as a college freshman and the people who would be left behind. No one warned me about this strong and overpowering sensation. It hit me like a tidal wave, drowning me in thoughts and memories, I found it easiest to grasp and process them by putting them into this letter.

Letter from college freshman to parents, brothers and dog
This is the letter I wrote to my family before freshman year. (Mac Stiles)

Letter from a college freshman to his parents

Mom and Dad,

Today must be one of the hardest days of your lives. I promise you everything will be ok. You’ve spent 17 years, 10 months, and 29 days instilling values in me that I will never forget. The time you spent repeating yourself over and over has paid off. I am taking your lessons with me to college to mold myself into a better person, the person you raised me to be.

But it’s time to let go.

You have to trust that I can hold my own. It’s no different than learning to walk or ride a bike. You held my hand and showed me the way. The first couple of times, I may have come back bruised and bloodied with tears streaming down my cheeks, but I learned. And today is no different.

You’re sending me off knowing that I’ll hit some bumps in the road and face obstacles that seem impossible to overcome. I will still need you to show me the way every once in a while, even if it’s through phone calls or texts. I value your input. Eventually, just like walking or biking, I will learn and find my way myself.

I love you both more than words can describe and will be forever indebted to you for what you have given me physically, mentally, and emotionally. All of my achievements belong to the two of you; even if I did not show it at the time, I’m extremely grateful. I may be moving out from under your roof at home, but I will always be under the roof of your heart.

Drew and Reed,

Boys, I will miss you both more than I can convey. You are my two best friends in the world, and I’ll never forget the memories we made growing up with each other. It’s never a dull moment when the three of us are together, and I cherish that. Whether it’s walking Murphy at night, blaring music all over the neighborhood as we drive, or just playing PS3 and laughing, I always have a blast.

Take your school work seriously but allow time for fun in high school too. Both of you are incredibly gifted, and you’ll soon learn what those gifts are and be able to truly embrace them. Try not to worry too much either. Worrying is a waste of time. If it already happened, you can’t change it. Just forget about it and use your mistakes to grow and learn. My favorite saying is, “Let the past drive the present.”

Look out and care for one another. Both of you need to know that I am incredibly proud to call you my brothers and that I wouldn’t trade you for anything in the world. Sometimes we bicker and fight, but we’re always able to laugh it off right away and get back to normal. You both exceed expectations left and right, and nothing makes me happier. I love you both immensely and can’t wait to hear about your adventures while I’m gone.

Letter from college freshman to parents, brothers and dog
My brothers are my two best friends. (Mac Stiles)


I think you’re going to take this the hardest. It’s easy for the rest of us to understand what’s happening because we communicate. However, you will just see us pack up the car with a lot of my stuff, then have everyone else come home but me. I don’t know what I would do without you running in and jumping on my bed to lay with me. I always felt that you understood me, and we were pretty similar even though you’re a dog and I’m human.

Letter from college freshman to parents, brothers and dog
I’ll miss my dog, Murphy. (Mac Stiles)

Orhan Pamuk once said, “Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” I find that pretty accurate. I’m always listening, buddy. I’ll be back soon, and I can’t wait to see you in my bed, tail wagging a hundred miles per hour, exactly how I left you.

Love, Mac

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About Mac Stiles

John (Mac) Stiles is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, Columbia. He is majored in Sports Management and Entertainment with a minor in Journalism. He was a member of the school's rugby team where he served as the public relations officer.

Read more posts by Mac

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