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Will Essilfie

Dear First Year,

If there’s one thing I should tell you now, it’s just breathe. Just close your eyes, take in a deep breath and let it out.

I know — it’s a phrase that sounds so cliché and empty, especially the way the world is right now. No one, and definitely not myself, expected to spend 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic. I did not expect to be in a country where wearing masks— a proven way to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, would be considered a “political” issue. And for students like you now starting your first college classes, I could not imagine having to start classes and your undergrad experience over Zoom calls and chats.

When I was getting ready for my first year of college, I remember the feelings of anxiousness. As each day passed, I was one day closer to a future that filled me with both joy and apprehension. 30 days till I move across the country. 29 days till I’m a resident in the city that never sleeps. 28 days till I get to live on my own for the first time ever. With each feeling of excitement, those unknowns creeped into back of my mind. How will I make new friends? What clubs will I join? What exactly am I going to study? (tip: just because you enjoyed reading The Economist in high school does not mean you should major in Economics)

And for every single one of those questions that came to mind, the solution? Breathe.

I met some of the best people I’ve ever met and am thankful to still have as friends. I found (and founded) clubs that meant a lot to me and introduced me to opportunties I never expected (including becoming a Broadway reviewer for a semester!) and co-running an entire hackathon. And in a twist I never saw coming, becoming a Computer Science major.

In all of these situations, these opportunities and events happened quickly and when I least saw them coming. I know my initial first year was nothing like yours, but I know if you believe in the process and let those plans you so assiduously planned go to the wayside, you’ll find a way to make the most of these next four years. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath in and let it out.

Good luck with your first year!


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