By Kendall Tich
I’d like to start off this column by congratulating you on your acceptance to USD. Many challenging and exciting years of school lie behind you and you have now given USD the opportunity to shape your future. For those of you who are returning Toreros, congratulations on making it through another year of academic rigor.
As the school year begins, I have begun to think about my first days at USD. The first few days of orientation and classes may be the most awkward days of your life here at USD but they are some of the most memorable and you will look back on them wishing you had cherished them more while they were happening.
That first day of classes, where I walked into the wrong classroom at least three times was beyond embarrassing at the time. However, as I’ve kept doing it each semester, I’ve learned it’s easier to laugh at yourself then feel bad about making silly mistakes.
So as you embark on the first or next year of your four years here at USD, I’d like to extend some words of advice that will hopefully lead to a smoother, more comfortable transition into everything this new home of yours has to offer.
Be friendly. In many cases, it is small interactions that shape the image people have in their minds of you as a person. So when you walk into class, say hi to the students you’ve previously met and introduce yourself to those you haven’t. When you pass people you know on the sidewalk, acknowledge them and maybe even stop to strike up a conversation with them. For all you know, they could have been having a terrible day but your friendliness will be the silver lining.
Be confident. Be confident in yourself and your accomplishments. Answer questions in class that no one else raises their hands for. Speak your mind and ask questions without being worried of what the other students may think. Be confident in the knowledge you’ve gained throughout each semester and prove that knowledge on essays and exams. You have four years here to show how bright you can shine and now is the time to start building the confidence to do so.
Be fun. Become involved in things you are interested in even if others don’t share those same interests. Say yes to invitations to do exciting activities even if they are with people you don’t know very well yet. Participate in any activities you would regret missing out on and grab every opportunity you can while you still have the chance.
Be motivated. College is no walk in the park and depending on your plans following your four undergraduate years here, your grades, connections and working habits will matter. Gain the motivation to truly comprehend what you are learning. It may take you three times as long to finish an assignment by doing so, but you will thank yourself when you know every answer to the questions on your exams.
Be respectable. If you haven’t figured this out yet, our school is relatively small. You will see more familiar faces walking around campus then you will unfamiliar faces. That being said, the way others look at you and think of you will be entirely up to the decisions you make during your time here. So think through everything before you do it and understand the consequences. Be respectable and show others that you admire and respect yourself so they, in turn can do the same.
Be positive. Your first few months on your own can be rough. For most of us, coming to college was our first glance into the world of independence. You will have good days and you will have bad days and you will have days where you wish you weren’t anywhere near USD. But even in the midst of all that, be positive. You have been given an amazing opportunity by enrolling at here. So keep your optimism and realize that everywhere you go can become home if you give it the time to do so.
It takes a good amount of time to truly settle into a new place so be patient and be positive and realize that you will one day be happy to return to your new home at USD.