Welcome back Lakers! As I start my second year at Grand Valley State University, I am so happy to see all the new faces this week that are quickly becoming a part of this wonderful community.
I love the spirit of college. We’re all trying to figure out our dreams, our loves, our passions. Many of the freshmen may have no idea what they want to do with the rest of their life or even what they want to do next year. And that’s completely okay.
I am one of the most indecisive people. I have already changed my major maybe four times. GVSU allows for that. It’s one of the perks of having an abundance of general education courses. That random environmental issues class gives you a chance to say, “Wow, I’m really interested in this subject matter and I would like to continue to learn about this.”
Maybe it won’t go that way for you. Algebra may be painstakingly dreadful, you can barely stay awake, homework is really difficult… and that’s completely fine too. Even from that you can learn something – that you definitely don’t want to be a math major. That’s kind of beautiful to me.
Another thing I love about college is this unity based on our struggles. Most of us don’t have very much money. We’re just trying to get by, living on our own for the first time. Just chasing dreams and washing dishes or serving food or whatever crappy part-time job we take on to pay the rent. Recipes.com is our guidance. We’re eating things like ramen and popcorn for dinner. We’re sleeping on couches. Our tables don’t have chairs. Toilet paper is a luxury that we can’t always remember.
We’re all discovering how to live independently and we’re making lots of mistakes on that way. I love this journey of figuring out how to take the bus, what brand of detergent is the best and how to pay the energy bill.
Yes, we are here to be educated, but don’t forget about the glory of all the other opportunities to learn. There are so many ways to get involved on and off campus through clubs, jobs, volunteering, greek life and the rec center.
It’s also time to test and really expand on our practical knowledge. It’s super easy to call up mom and ask her how to do things, which is completely OK sometimes, but it’s also cool to try to see if you can figure some things out on your own. College is a place to experiment, create regrets, discover passions, and pave the way to the rest of your life.
All you new freshmen will truly be Lakers for a lifetime. The phrase is a possibility that could become a reality, but it’s dependent on your actions. College is what you make it, as with everything else. Opportunities to diversify yourself are everywhere, but it’s up to you to find them. The best opportunities will not just be told to you. Get out of your dorms. Go to the library, to Kirkhof, to the gym. Make friends. Get a job. Join clubs. Go make things happen and embrace the spirit of being young and dumb.