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Letter to the SWU Class of 2024

Letter to the SWU Class of 2024

Letter to the SWU Class of 2024

by Zach Wheeler on May 01, 2020

Dear freshmen, 

Congratulations! You made it. 

You’re about to embark on what probably is the biggest journey of your life thus far. Whatever these next two, three, four, or even five years hold for you, trust me, it will be worth the wait. These next few years have every chance of being the most formative years of your life. Now, before you get too scared, I have some news for you: you can do this! 

Right now, I’m sure you’re starting to think about how crazy these next few months will be for you. Maybe you’ve chosen to move halfway across the country, stay in your hometown, or go somewhere in between. Maybe you’re attending the college of your dreams or taking a year somewhere else to really find out who you are and what your dreams are for your life. Whatever your situation, college does not have to be scary. In fact, it can be the best time of your life if you go about it the right way! As someone who will soon be a college graduate, I can say my college experience was the best four years of my life and it can be for you too.

I can’t stress enough how important actually going to your classes is and how much good can come out of physically being in a classroom, learning from the people you’re paying to learn from. 

These next few years of your life, you are going to run into a lot of people: people you will love, people you will love for a season, and people you will love from a distance. Whatever the type of people you find, make sure you surround yourself with those who will love you and support you but also challenge you. The best friendships are not the ones who will merely tell you everything you want to hear, but those who will get down in the mud with you and walk through this journey called life right by your side.

Whatever the type of people you find, make sure you surround yourself with those who will love you and support you but also challenge you.

It is the easiest thing in the world to sit around all day, constantly eat junk, and always get coffee from the on-campus coffee shop. BUT! If you want to stay alive and stay healthy, you’ve got to develop some good habits for yourself. This includes what you eat, how often you exercise, AND how much you sleep. YES! I said it! Although I am the WORST when it comes to healthy sleeping habits, I can promise you the days I actually slept were the best, most productive days I had during my college experience. Those all-nighters, those insomnia nights, and those day-long binge sessions are all fun and games until you crashed the next day. Trust me, just get some sleep.

Whether it’s an intramural sports team, a club or society, or even the annual student production/musical, make sure that you get involved on campus. Campus will be your social hub for the next little while. Why not get out of your room and make it the best it can possibly be? Just be careful not to overload yourself and make sure you spend time on what is super necessary first!

For some of you, going away to college may be your first experience of being on your own and having to support yourself. Be sure you make every effort to not sit around all day when you could be working to make yourself some bank to use the next time you want to go out with friends. Trust me, it will all be worth it when you can splurge and get yourself something nice when that next paycheck comes in.

If you’re anything like me, you may get to the end of your college career just wishing you had more time to spend with the people you’ve met…yes…even those who you had to love from a distance. Just like you’re feeling right now leaving high school and leaving all that you know, imagine yourself at the end of college feeling the same way, if not more, and try to live every day like it’s the last one you’ll get. Don’t be too concerned with the future. Whatever path is forming for you will come. It is not your job to worry over what comes next. Just be happy in the here and now.

This does not even scratch the surface of all I’d like to tell you, but if I could leave any sort of final advice for you, it would be this: never forget where you've come from and who helped you along the way. Once you reach the end of your time in college, you will look back and not even recognize the person you were in those Snapchat memories, those Insta posts, and those TikTok videos from four years ago. Take time to think back on what you’ve been through, who you’ve become, and who was with you on that journey. Like I said before, if you’re anything like me, college is going to be the best years of your life. Don’t waste them. I’m so excited for you.

And don’t forget: you can do this.