Hi there! Welcome to Drexel University. I don’t know about you, but when I first started college here three years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. I’m sure you’re much smarter than I was, but in any case I’ve written you a guide to some things I wish I’d known when I first stepped onto Lancaster Walk. Maybe when someone invents time travel (a DU grad no doubt), I’ll be able to hop back and deliver it to my 17-year-old self.
First of all, try everything. In just a few weeks here, you’ll be buried in flyers and swag advertising organizations, programs and activities. If it piques your interest even a little, give it a shot. You never know what you might end up discovering a passion for. (I never thought I’d be much of a journalist. Go figure.)
On that note, don’t be afraid to let things ago. Odds are some activities you signed up for won’t be as thrilling as you’d hoped – that’s all right. There’s no pressure to commit to anything now. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in a new environment, so don’t spread yourself too thin.
Call your mom and dad. They tied your baby shoes before you even understood what shoes were. Every time you got hurt, they felt your pain. Take five minutes to remind them that they’re still the world to you, because you’ll always be theirs.
Read The Triangle. It’s a good newspaper, my own bias notwithstanding.
Reach out and make connections with new people. It’s okay to miss your high school crew, but there’s plenty of kids here in the same boat. Everyone’s starting fresh – you’re not the only one who’s hoping to find a friend.
It’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life after you graduate. A lot of people figure it out on the way. Keep your chin up and trust your instincts. If it feels wrong, it probably is. If it feels right, follow it and see where it goes.
Be grateful for what you have. When you’re staring down the barrel of three midterms, a lab report and a handful of online assignments you haven’t even opened, it’s easy to feel like you drew the short straw. But try to remember that getting a college education is an incredible opportunity, and not everyone is fortunate enough to have that chance.
Ask for help. I can’t emphasize this one enough. If you’re struggling in a class, ask your professors, ask your peers, or inquire about Drexel’s many tutoring options. If you start to feel like your life is falling apart and you can’t fit your arms around all the pieces, tell someone you care about. It may seem like weakness, but there is incredible strength in vulnerability. Know that when it gets bad, it doesn’t have to stay bad – loved ones will lift you out if you have the courage to reach up your hand.
It’s okay to be scared about the future. I still am sometimes.
Look out for each other. We are a diverse school of beautifully unique people, but we all belong to the same community. Our sweat drips blue and our blood runs gold. If one of us succeeds, we all succeed.
Last of all, don’t listen to old people like me. Listen to us a little bit, but go out and discover these lessons on your own. Make mistakes. Get hurt. Just try to have the grace to pick yourself up and learn something from it. That’s all we can ever do.
Congratulations – you’re a Dragon. Get out there and lead a life your future self will be proud of.
Editor-in-Chief, The Triangle