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An Open Letter to Incoming First Years at Saint Mary’s

Dear First Years,

As my time at Saint Mary’s comes to an end, it’s so easy to find myself reflecting on the time I spent as a Belle. I have grown so much as a person, and I am sure other seniors feel the same way. For those who have officially committed to Saint Mary’s and may be on edge with nervous excitement, here are a few things you will soon realize as you accommodate to your life as a Belle.

The first year in college is like starting off on a clean slate. It’s your time to figure out or pursue what you’re passionate about. Being at a liberal arts college, we have the ability to take different subjects, allowing us to receive a wider range of education and worldview than others. While the Sophia Program may be confusing or frustrating, it is definitely something I benefited from at my time at Saint Mary’s. That being said, it’s perfectly OK to be undecided! You have plenty of time to decide on a major. Starting off on a clean slate can also be applicable to how you present yourself to your professors and their first impression of you. While I know some people have a love hate relationship with teacher pets, be one. The more you get to know your professor, the easer it is to ask questions and participate in class. One of the best ways to get to know them is to visit their office hours. You may also find yourself appreciating the resources Saint Mary’s has to offer. From the writing center, career office, math center, and more, students are able to receive the best help available to be successful in their education.

In regards to nonacademic advice, get involved with different clubs on campus! Don’t be afraid to break out of your bubble and meet new people you may have thought you wouldn’t be friends with. There are a multitude of clubs on campus, so it may be hard to pick just one! Also, as Saint Mary’s students we have the ability to join different clubs at Notre Dame; another great way to make friends! Speaking of friends, at times, it can be hard to make friends. You may find yourself not being true to who you are in order to make friends. Rather, find friends who accept you for you, and let the negative ones go. Make friends that encourage you to join them on late night food runs when you have assignments due the next day, friends you can easily vent to, and friends who support your Netflix obsessions. Your friendships at Saint Mary’s are the ones that will last a lifetime.

Lastly, take time to smell the tulips! It is easy to be consumed in our phones when walking from class to class. I’m guilty of it. By not looking at my phone when walking to class, I started noticing how beautiful our campus really is. Whether it is the buildings, Lake Marion, the flowers, or the squirrels, I feel nostalgic about it all. Be sure to take excessive amounts of photos of the Belle Tower and #ringsdoingthings. I know you won’t regret your decision when your time at Saint Mary’s has ended.

I never knew I would grow to love Saint Mary’s as much as I have these past four years. Be grateful for all those who have supported you and for your fellow Belles. While I don’t want to leave, I will carry these memories with me forever. I am glad to have left my legacy as a Belle, and I know you will be too.

Liana

 

Liana O'Grady

Saint Mary's

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