On behalf of The Triangle’s editorial staff, I’d like to extend a warm, hearty welcome to the incoming freshmen class. Heck, I’ll say it a few more times just to be exuberant. Welcome to campus, welcome to Philadelphia, welcome to the next four or five years of your life — Welcome to Drexel.
As you’re probably very well aware, this is not your typical college. We give up summer vacations to begin our professional lives early, we study on the quarter system and our campus is steps (literally, just a walk across the Schuylkill) away from Center City Philadelphia.
You’ve busted your tails to get here. I’m sure you’re ready to dive into your academics with passion and fervor after that lengthy summer break and that’s great. Study hard, but at the same time please remember that Drexel is about more than excelling in your academics. It’s about gaining experience. If you want to make the best of all of this university’s advantages, your best bet is to get involved.
Drexel has no shortage of opportunities.
All around you, your professors are researching groundbreaking projects. Just during my few years at Drexel, I’ve met with many notable Drexel professors — among them, Wei Sun, who 3-D prints cancerous tumors in an effort to personalize medicinal treatment; Andrew Cohen, who’s working to develop a virtual reality software that allows biologists to study slides as if they’re standing directly on them; and Longjian Liu and Ana Nunez, who document how the neighborhoods Philadelphians live in correspond to their level of health. Their research extends past our campus’s borders and holds the potential for impact around the word.
Get to know the next generation of change-makers, too. Join a club. It’s a great way to make friends outside of your year and major, have fun and merge into the Drexel community. You’ll have something to look forward to every week and a distraction to fall back on when school gets to be too much.
When on co-op, do as the professionals do. You’ll start building your resume Winter or Spring Term depending on your co-op cycle. Tailor it to the career you think you want and work hard when you land a job, but don’t be surprised if you change your mind about the field you want to go into. Co-op gives you the chance to taste-test different career paths without being bound to them permanently. You have six months to decide if you like the field you’re working in. If you don’t, it’s no biggie. Just try something different next round.
Finally, your biggest opportunity, in my opinion, comes from living in the city itself. Do yourself a favor and explore Philadelphia. Break out of our little University City bubble every chance you get because you’re going to school in one of the coolest cities in America. Philadelphia’s getting a lot of hype these days. We hosted the Democratic National Convention a few months ago and Pope Francis came to see us last September. The city’s full of great restaurants, hangouts, and, of course, American history. And I don’t just mean Old City. Take a look around you and get involved with organizations making history today. There are regularly events and political protests down at City Hall. Don’t let the size of the city intimidate you. It’s not as big as it looks — you can walk almost anywhere. We’re as much Philadelphia citizens as we are Drexel Dragons, so get out there and live it.
You as students will have the opportunity to get involved in this all of this excitement. The beauty of Drexel’s system is that if you play your cards right, you can experience more than the average college student ever does. College is a time to try new things. Don’t limit yourself to academic learning. The entire city is our classroom and it can teach you a lot.
We Drexel students value experience — that’s what brought us all here.
Don’t forget that, and you’ll do fine.