When I signed up to write this week’s letter at the beginning of the semester, I wanted it to have a graduation theme because I knew even then that I would be sad to graduate and move on. Now that COVID-19 struck us and in-person graduation will not be occurring on May 9, the biggest piece of advice for anyone in college, regardless of academic year, is to live life to the absolute fullest: do not take time for granted and take advantage of all opportunities from the start because you never know when things will be taken from right under your feet.
It truly does not make a difference if you are a first semester freshman or a final semester senior, college is full of opportunities. There are clubs to become a part of, organizations to turn to if you want to make a difference, professors that you can build relationships with that will change your life and events that will open your eyes to new people and ideas. Being involved in clubs and organizations in college is what can help shape you into a leader and build who you are as a person. When you look for a job upon graduation, employers look past the 4.0 and the degree you earned, they look at the “extra” things that you did for yourself to make you more ready for the “real world.” They want to see that you did more in college than just what is in the textbook. They want to see that you built communication skills by working with others. They want to see skills you built by being in a club and leadership experience that you undertook.
Aside from just academics, it is important to value the people you meet in college. Never forget the friends you made your freshman year in the dorms because those are the people who you grew with when you transformed into a college student. Do not forget the first friend you made in your major and all the friends you would study in the library with. Also do not forget to hold your friends close and make as many memories with them as you can, because that is what you will remember after college. Graduating seniors, more than anyone right now, understand how important it is to make friendships and do everything you can while you still have time. We all wish that quarantine did not happen so that we could go back and hug our friends, thank our professors and see our classmates one last time this year.
College is important in many ways, but it is also entirely what you make of it. With that being said, take every opportunity, make new friends and live each day like it is your last because you truly never know when your last day being a student at SRU might be, so it is important to make those memories and build the skills that will last a lifetime and that even a few-month long quarantine could not destroy.