A letter to the class of 2027

Dear SVSU Freshmen, the class of 2027–

I remember being in your shoes once, a few fall semesters ago. Though our journeys are different, and we all find our different ways through these next four years ahead of you, these first few weeks make a world of difference. In your courses, you may frequently hear the phrase: “You get out what you put in,” and here at Saginaw Valley, that couldn’t ring truer.

See, your first semester of courses is what makes a lot of your future decisions, so honestly, this is where it counts; but it’s not meant to scare you. If you focus on your studies or join a club, organization, fraternity, or sorority, many of the connections you make will last a lifetime. As a fourth year within my last few semesters, I’m almost envious of many of you and how you’re ready to take on anything life gives you.

The real world, I’ve found, is a terrifying place, and without the foundation that your studies will give you– not only to stand on your own two feet but also through using your education– many of the roads you will cross will seem daunting, if not impossible at first.

The balance of a new schedule, a new school, or even a new home altogether is something that may seem like a whole other beast to you– I understand how that felt, as my first dorm experience wasn’t like all the positive stories of “lifelong friends,” you hear, either– but these are all necessary things to understanding the adult world, and what it truly is reliant on.

One important word, that seems to come up a lot is the word resiliency– defined as “the capability to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” Though everyone’s version of being resilient may be different, either to bouncing back from the setback of a bad quiz, a friendship falling out, or your boyfriend or girlfriend breaking up with you, being able to make a plan from the issues that happen, or in other terms– to rise from the ashes, like a phoenix, is one of the most important lessons to learn while in college.

Yes, a lot of the times, when experiencing these hardships, it may feel like the end of the world to you, I know that I’ve felt like I wouldn’t be able to recover from even some of my personally hardest battles, but without these, I wouldn’t be the man I am today.

College is meant to teach you the necessary tools for not only your career but for life as well. You learn how to stand up for yourself, advocate, create, cry at the losses, laugh at your failures, and plan for the next day. You need to keep yourself rolling with the punches, no matter what life may throw at you.

It’s important to note that through resiliency, one must find or create safe spaces to express their emotions (these can be confidential talks with close friends, a professor, a staff member, a therapist, family members, or even roommates if you’re on good terms).

Resiliency isn’t built on bottling it up and forgetting about the things that happen. It’s okay to cry about the things that go wrong, but resiliency is based on separating the bad from the good and then focusing on said good. Time ebbs and flows just like our emotions, so there’s no doubt in my mind each of you will need to tap into your inner resiliency to get through the day, week, or entire college career– if that’s what it takes.

Knowing there is support behind you, from various offices, those close to you, and the upperclassmen that went through the same trials and tribulations you face now, should give you the strength to be resilient. One great takeaway is that self-advocacy is another tool for resiliency, and by God, are the people of Saginaw Valley ready to help once you make it known that you need help.

Take advantage of these opportunities, and most of all, don’t be afraid to try new things. I wish I would’ve sooner– you never know what you’ll get back from what you’ve done. Good luck, and Godspeed.

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