Who Are You & Why Are You Here?
As you may already know, there’s been a behemoth of new and unfamiliar faces around campus lately, which means that it’s the new semester and people from all over Michigan, the United States and even the world are right here right now. Oh, how I enjoy seeing excited and nervous faces while they’re trying to figure themselves out in this place.
I remember my first time here in the States and how lucky I was to arrive during a harsh wintertime.
I was excited, nervous, shy, unsure and unaware of where my place is, but eventually I got through it seeing as I’m writing to you now. It’s always scary going to a new place and experiencing something different like college life. I was lucky enough to want to be independent and not have to worry that I’m thousands of miles away from my home, but that isn’t always the case for everybody.
Some of you may be from the east side or up north while some of you could be from Chicago or Ohio or somewhere nearby. Then there are the international students from all over the world. I was involved in a meet-and-greet with the new students recently and I could tell from their faces that most of them were happy to be here. We talked about the life and culture here, what it’s like living with Americans, certain ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s, and even about drinking. Just by looking at them I could tell that they’ll be fine here, but there’s always some insecurities that lie beneath.
Regardless of where you’re from, just remember that trying something new is a way of life and how we progress to becoming better. Right now, you may be scared of speaking up in class or joining a club you’re interested in or even talking to someone new, but you’ve already taken the first step in coming here, so all the other things are just incentives.
And for those returning students who have the been-there-and-done-that attitude, go make yourself available to those new students and help them get settled here. There’s nothing more comforting than a friend trying to ease the pressure. I know it’s always easier to stick with your own friends and not really bother with anyone else, but to be honest, it’s not healthy.
Be that guy or girl stepping out of the pack and venturing into new territories. Read all the books and listen to all the experts and they’ll tell you that trying something new—in itself—is a gift and a privilege that not everyone has. But you do have it, and you are going to use it this school year. You are going to be different and you will absolutely love it. As Dr. Seuss once said, “Think left and think right, and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”