An Open Letter to the Class of 2014

Welcome to St. Mary’s! I hope the last few days have been a pleasant, albeit daunting, experience. You’re likely reeling from all the information orientation has bombarded you with, but that’s all really just boot camp. I’d say a lot of it is useful, but there’s a lot orientation cannot prepare you for when the rubber hits the road. It seems pretty obvious, but to really understand what college is like you have to experience it, and you will be very, very soon.

As a result of this it’s likely you’ve received plenty of unsolicited advice from plenty of people, and you’re probably sick of it. But if you’ll indulge me, the one piece of advice I have to give is this: take every opportunity you can to connect with the people of St. Mary’s. There are a lot of things to love about this campus, but nothing beats the fact that you are surrounded by some of the best people you’ll ever meet. St. Mary’s kids are a breed all their own, but I find it difficult to really quantify with words what makes our community unique. Perhaps it’s a sort of easy-going attitude towards the things that truly aren’t that big a deal, or the fact that on a campus this small you get to know almost everyone at least in passing, and hopefully a few much more deeply. It might be the collective endearing weirdness of each and every St. Mary’s student, or more appropriately the fact that we accept and embrace it. It could be that, despite our sometimes very different backgrounds, we’re all united in this experience of discovery and adventure. And this doesn’t just hold true for students: you’ll find the staff and professors emanate St. Mary’s-ness with equal gusto.

I’d say the only thing you can really do wrong here, the only way you can really screw up and not realize it, is by locking yourself in your room and not coming out to experience the world and the people that inhabit it. Take it from someone who didn’t make much of an attempt to connect with other people his first year: it’s something you might very well end up regretting. Even worse, though, you’ll be missing out the thing that makes this college so much better than your average cookie-cutter 300-students-to-an-intro-class university. Go and strike up a conversation with the other people in your dorm. Join a club (this is where I put the obligatory Point News plug, right?). Talk to the other people in your class about things other than your class. Meeting new people cold isn’t always an easy thing to do, but it’s almost never a bad decision.

So once again, welcome to the St. Mary’s community and thank you so much for reading our humble paper. I promise that I and my staff will do our very best to inform and give back to this vibrant and wonderful community. I hope to see, talk to, and connect with many of you soon, and I hope that you’ll learn to love this college and it’s community as much as I do.

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