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Lara Rosales

July 23, 2020

Next semester will be the first one for many students. Sadly, for most of them classes will begin online, and they are disappointed. This letter is for them.

Dear Newcomers,

I want to begin this letter by congratulating you. Congratulations on graduating high school and choosing a major of your liking. Congratulations on deciding to begin your college career. Congratulations on the courage it takes to choose what to do with your undergraduate studies. Besides everything that is going on around the world, you should be extremely proud of yourself. Making the conscious decision of going to college is not an easy one, so be proud of yourself for taking this next step. I know everyone around you is proud of you.

Sadly and disappointingly, your first semester will begin online. Some colleges have decided to start classes online and then move on to in-class teaching. No one really knows what is happening. But I do know it must be frustrating to begin this new chapter of your life virtually. It probably is not what you were expecting, and you were looking forward to orientation and your first day. It is completely normal to be sad, disappointed, frustrated, and angry right now. We all are for different reasons. However, do not let that take away from the importance of your first college semester. Enjoy it as much as you possibly can.

As a graduate, I can tell you college was one of the best experiences of my life. It was there where I met some of the most important people in my life. I met my best friend. I became friends with teachers whom to this day I cherish and admire more than anything. It was during those years that I had the best classes I have ever attended. I professionally learned so much and personally grew up more than I could have imagined. So, trust me, even if this is the way it begins, this journey is going to be memorable.

The first semester feels weird for everyone; even those of us who had in-person classes. You feel so small and awkward because you do not know where you belong yet. I know it will feel a little extra weird to begin online. But try to take advantage of this situation. Pay attention to the material your teachers share with you. Read your classmates’ comments and see who you might have something in common with. Try to settle into this new chapter of your life. It will definitely be a good one.

I recommend having an open communication with teachers and advisors. They are the ones who will help you and guide you the most for as long as you are a student. Try to build a relationship with them from the beginning and listen to every advice they give you. Thanks to my personal experience, I can promise you will learn the most from conversations you have with your teachers outside your classroom. They know so much more than what their lectures show.

The nerves you are feeling right now are normal. The frustration you are dealing with is acceptable. But remember this is your time. You are finally going to study something you are passionate about and meet people who feel the same way you do. You are about to become a professional and set foot on the right track.

Starting your college journey online can be disappointing, but you have to remember it is only temporary. Soon enough we will go back to campus and you will be able to meet your classmates and your teachers. Take advantage of your online classes as best as you can and try to make as many good memories from this first semester as possible.

Wishing you all the luck in the world,

A former student.

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