Letter to My Freshman Self

By Zachary Anderson-Yoxsimer

Dear Freshman Zach,

Here are some words of advice from your slightly more mature (maybe not), older self—four years laterLet’s set the stage shall we…

August 24, 2015 was the day that freshman Zachary Anderson-Yoxsimer (yes, that’s my entire name...only time I’ll use it...til the end) walked onto the CSULB campus as an 18-year-old, “married,” undeclared student without a clue regarding his life path or career choice—so basically, a man.

May 22, 2019 is my commencement date, which will be the official last date I walk across the vast campus that is Long Beach State, as a student.

Let’s see what I’ve learned so far.

Practical Advice:

  1. Don’t Procrastinate and Push Back Deadlines: An endless problem of mine.
    Highlights: paying for classes. Don’t wait until the last day or you WILL lose your classes (not like this happened to me...I mean…) Running radio shows and broadcasting games will be ten times easier to do when you have something to talk about instead of staring at half-completed notes.

  2. Work Out: You don’t play high school sports anymore; running and playing basketball don’t have to be the only answers to being in prime physical shape. Also, work out your mind. Get off the phone screen or any social media site for long periods of time to decompress and live life not trapped to the internet and everyone else’s online life.

  3. Communicate: If you need help, are having a hard time in a class, or you’re extremely busy, don’t just sit in the corner and smile. Actually get up and make your voice heard—whether it be to a professor or a friend. Be upfront about your feelings and thoughts when dealing with friends, family, and possible dates.

  4. Stay Positive and Confident: Thinking negatively and angrily only leads to stress, anxiety, and extremely low self-esteem. Don’t be afraid to be you. As good friends always told me over the past four years, “If they don’t love and respect you for who you are, then don’t worry about them.”

  5. Be Bold: The boldness comes from finding ways to always be happy and energetic for yourself and to inspire others in their dark times. Also, be bold when introducing yourself to new possibilities—whether it be new people, networking andjob opportunities, or adventures.

Life Lessons (and the rest):

After four years at LBSU, I’ve found ways to marvel, frustrate, and amaze myself time and time again. By revisiting my “stage setting,” one can see how I detailed myself as a man without a plan. Now I sit here, preparing to graduate with a degree in journalism, “unmarried,” and evolving to be a better version of myself everyday (not a macho man like I may have been initially), with visions and dreams for my career path and journey.

I would tell you, young one, that life is indeed as cliché and uninspiring as others make it seem to be. As much as college projects stack up and work gets frustrating and stressful, be yourself. Yes, it’s the most cliché statement of all time, but for you, it works. Also, hidden within the words “be yourself” is to be confident within yourself. Simply adding two words gives a deeper meaning and adds inspiration to these overused clichés. As long as you remain passionate about life, enthusiastic about each and every day, and eager to see how the day unfolds, you will always thrive and breed success through all the bad moments and “dog days.” Of course, your list of failures will grow: overachieving GPA is no longer in sight (this is definitely not high school), dating (I’ve always failed, but your patience grows thin and confidence wanes and wavers during the dark times), being responsible, and being selfish. Remember to keep smiling and trudge on during the midterms and annoying projects that keep you up all night, but the easiest advice to fall back on is, “Be confident within yourself.” This will keep you standing during the tough breakups, failed business ventures, and long days and nights worrying about your future.  Continue to be a refreshingly energetic, positively passionate individual who loves to care—not just about yourself, but about the well-being of others.

So, when the clock strikes two o’clock on May 22, 2019, and you’re sweating in your cap and gown, walking side by side with your friends, peers, and fellow graduates and soon-to-be alumni, remember confidence and being yourself are the keys to surviving the dark abyss that may be post-graduation and job-searching. But quit fumbling with the keys and stick them into the ignition, and let’s get this engine started. The future is ahead and will always be bright.


Zachary Christopher Anderson-Yoxsimer (four years later)