You’re here. You’re doing it. You are really doing it… college that is. You are students at Central Michigan University and you are doing it. You are staying up too late talking to your friends and then waking up WAY too early to finish the homework that you should have been doing instead. You are eating a dessert at every meal in Robinson Cafeteria. You are walking in a group of, at the least, a fourth of your cohort to and from every single protocol class that you have and have been referred to as a cult more than you’d really like to admit. You’ve probably talked to or met someone new every single day and most of you probably still can’t figure out the names of all of the LI staff. My guess is that many of you have experienced the oh-so famous wayside together and walked a countless number of times to the side entrances of Barnes hall to let your friends in after 10 P.M. As someone who was experiencing these exact same things one year ago, here is my advice to you….
Take it all in as deeply as you can and do anything and everything that makes you feel alive.
Freshman year of LAS is so special. Never will the majority of you live in the same building again, where even those of you that don’t live in Barnes can walk to any room on any floor and be completely and utterly welcomed and loved. You will never get to experience Mentor/Mentee Retreat for the first time, which you may not realize now, but is completely different as a mentor. You also only get one year to be super hype to get your mentees even though that is still months and months away. Coming to college and having a place to call home with people to love you instantly is not the experience that most college freshman get and I hope that you recognize, appreciate, and utilize this as much as you can.
So please , make connections and be intentional with your conversation. Stay up until 4 A.M. with people you don’t generally talk to everyday rambling on and on about your passions and beliefs. Go on random adventures with your best friends just for ways to ignore homework. Ask your mentor to do crazy stupid fun things with you simply because they adore you and can’t tell you no. Mess up, recognize that you messed up, and accept that you’ll probably mess up again but that it’ll be okay because at the end of the day, you have 50 people ready to help you put it all back together when you’re done.
This weekend we went to Mentee/Mentor Retreat and I felt so nostalgic looking back at my freshman year at CMU. I grew so much in the past year and seeing all of you about to make some of these same crazy changes in life and you don’t even realize it is so happy, and sad, and scary, and exhilarating. My freshman year of college in LAS was the most life-changing experiences that I have ever had. I cried too much, and laughed even more yet still not enough. I made the absolute best friends that I will ever have in my life and I changed more in the past year than all of the others put together. If there is one thing that did not change throughout the past year, it was the people in the in the yellow shirts at Mentee/Mentor Retreat 2016 to the people in the maroon shirts at Mentee/Mentor Retreat 2017.
You and your cohort will literally all cry together a few different times this year. You will all laugh together at the least once a week in LDR 100/200. Your cohort will literally always be there; like it or not, you are stuck with them. It is crazy to me to see you all now; so excited and calling your roommates your best friends, but you truly don’t even know what that really means yet. I don’t mean for that to be as harsh as it may sound, but I am so jealous of all that you still have left to experience. I could have told you that the boys next door to me in Barnes 108 were my best friends one year ago, but that means nothing compared to what those boys are to me now. The relationships that you create in these next seven months will be ones that are completely unexplainable. You have so much room to grow and things to experience and you won’t even realize it until you look back and see how far you have come, and you are all going to do it together.
The way that this sounds to anyone on the outside of LAS is forced and cheesy. We’re all forced into this group for money where we are asked to learn more about leadership so that we can change the world. Wow. Peachy. But as most of you can probably tell by now, this is one of the most life-changing programs that you will ever have the opportunity to be in, and if you are anything like me, this year is going to have the greatest impact on you than any other because of the opportunities to grow as an individual in both a professional and person setting.
This weekend made me so excited for all of you because as I look back at my crazy freshman year of college, there is nothing that I wouldn’t do to go back and experience everything for the first time again. So please, as a favor to me in order to live vicariously through your experience as a freshman in LAS, live it up and enjoy every moment. Love and laugh as much as you can and make the best friends that you will ever have because while those people will always be there for you, nothing is ever quite like the building those friendships for the first time.
As I see you all beginning your journey and reflect on my last year, I hope you have the same bittersweet feeling that I have knowing that even though you can’t run around Barnes like a hooligan for the first time again, you will be able to watch the class under you take on this crazy, crazy, crazy LAS college life that you will come to love yet never truly understand or fathom.
I adore you all and wish you nothing but the best as you continue this rollercoaster ride. Thank you for allowing my cohort and myself to be apart of this weekend and your college career here at CMU. We love all you so much and can’t wait to see what amazing things that you will do!