Welcome, Class of 2018!
Northwestern University, where I teach, runs on the quarter system (elsewhere called the trimester system), so classes don't start here until next week. Admittedly, this timely welcome I'm offering to our incoming first-years will be belated for students on most other campuses, though I wish everyone in school, at any level, a fantastic year.
I was so happy to score the gig giving the opening-day address to all 1150 first-years in our Arts and Sciences college. My remarks were inspired equally by questions and worries I've heard from my own freshman advisees over the years, and by my own memories of excitement and uncertainty my first year in college, and by things I never stop thinking about. For example, Project Runway. And the Oscars. Frequent readers of this site or listeners of Nathaniel's podcasts won't be surprised by any of that.
I wish I could give this advice to many more college students, and maybe other students as well, about controlling stress, admitting vulnerabilities, cultivating patience, and prioritizing happiness, even amidst hard work. In hopes of doing that, I'm posting the text here, complete with what every campus address needs: a full-scale FYC for Secrets & Lies and a couple sung bars of "Let It Go." Make the most of the coming year, everybody, or the coming four years!
Wildcat Welcome Address – September 17, 2014 – Nick Davis
If you have further or different advice you'd offer to entering undergraduates, please share it in the Comments. And feel free to circulate, with attribution. (Don't just lift it, or I'll be all up in your business like a Wendy interview.)