College (and Boston College, in particular) is a weird and wonderful place. Sure, it’s notorious for instant ramen noodles and the freshman fifteen—but, my dear incoming class of 2022, there are countless other nuggets of wisdom to be absorbed in your first semester of higher ed. Before long you’ll be well-versed in Mod culture and become a regular patron at the Cleveland Circle CVS. You’ll learn about coffee naps and shower beers and—most importantly—how to make it through an O’Neill all-nighter with nothing but vending machine snacks to sustain you.
But, as I pull together my thoughts and finally sit down to write this letter, I can’t help but be flooded with gratitude for the people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had at this university—ones that have both given me clarity on who I could be and pushed me to make that vision my reality.
Within the next few weeks, you’ll find yourself meandering the Heights like all those baby Eags who have come before you, awestruck and excited and, most likely, anxious as hell. BC will soon bombard you with new beginnings and opportunities, so get ready to embrace it. Feel all the feelings (including the bad ones), and seek out those moments where something just clicks. And, if you don’t feel that you’ve found your place, venture outside of the four tightly secured walls of your dorm and make one. What I’ve realized after three years at a school notorious for silencing and ignoring its student body—and particularly avoiding the needs of its marginalized communities—is that it isn’t about what you do at BC, but about what you can make BC be for you.
Now, let me debunk a couple of urban legends. Number one: There’s no right way to do college. Seriously. Your experience may not be anything like your best friend’s from home, and that’s totally OK. Which leads me to number two: College doesn’t have to be the best four years of your life, and it probably won’t be, but you have a whole life ahead of you! Try not to let yourself get wholly consumed with how perfect everyone else’s lives look on Instagram; instead, seize the moment that’s right there in front of you.
But what does that even mean? I had the same question. In retrospect, I’ve realized that it’s really a whole lot simpler than it seems. Talk to somebody when you’re in a room full of strangers. Your adventure starts now, so it pays off to look at every person you see and meet as a potential lifelong friend. Plus, you’ll be young and in Boston, so you’re in that rare window of time in your life where you can get away with reckless spontaneity (within reason, of course). Take advantage of it.
And, finally, make sure that you take care of yourself along the way. Prioritize your own health, whether mental or physical or emotional. Find a routine at BC that works for you (you can gather some inspiration from our new Daily Rituals series). Commit yourself to at least one thing, whether it be intramural sports or campus activism or a cappella or student journalism—in which case we’d love to welcome you home to our team and family over at The Gavel (it wouldn’t be a freshman letter without a shameless plug, now would it?).
This place can be challenging. It can be monotonous, frustrating, even infuriating—but so is the world that lies beyond. Use that to your advantage and you’ll find it a whole lot easier to discover and savor BC’s little wonders. My parting word of advice to you? Allow BC to be your training wheels. It will be an extraordinarily fun place to watch yourself learn and grow and develop, but eventually it will be time to move on and make your place in the world. And I have every confidence that after four years here, you’ll be more than ready to do just that.
I hope to be seeing y’all around campus very soon! Feel free to drop by our cozy new Gavel office in McElroy 103c if you have any questions or ever just wanna chat.
Oh, and just so you know, you’re gonna be great.
Meg Loughman, Editor-in-Chief