An Open Letter to Xavier’s Class of 2021

I want to extend a warm welcome to all incoming students setting foot on Xavier’s campus for the first time. I am sure that you are feeling somewhat uncertain, hesitant or even scared right now as you head into a new chapter of your lives. I remember the feeling quite well myself.

The life of a college student is indeed radically different from that of a high school student. You will spend less time in classes than you did in high school, but your responsibilities and workload will increase as you take on responsibility for your day-to-day life. You will be in charge of managing yourselves to ensure that you meet your responsibilities.

In other words, you have to start “adulting” now.

That can be an intimidating prospect, but you should not be afraid. You will learn and adapt quickly to your new circumstances, and I suspect that college will become one of the best times of your lives.

To help you adapt and succeed, I would like to offer five pieces of advice that will help you at Xavier.

Get involved.

Yes, you have come to Xavier to study, but you will also live on campus for at least two years. You should have other things to do on campus besides study and go to classes. Those can take a variety of forms, from participating in one of Xavier’s many student organizations to going out and exploring Cincinnati with a group of friends. These activities are a useful way to take your mind off your studies for a little while and help you enjoy yourself.

Do the work for classes.

There will be times when you will be tempted to slack off and perhaps even skip the work or reading for classes. There is something to be said for not being occupied by your work all the time, and you should know your limits, but try to resist these temptations. You will benefit from classes to the extent that you put effort into them. It is best to learn in your classes, and therefore best to put the work in.

Do not be afraid to ask for and seek help.

Tutoring service and a writing center are available on campus, and there is no reason to be ashamed of using them. Professors are also far less intimidating and more approachable if you go see them in their offices. Other resources exist on campus to help you succeed. Use them.

Eat well, exercise regularly and get enough sleep.

The stereotypical college student neglects all three, but they are crucial and will help you stay healthy and psychologically happy. That may seem minor, but healthy students think, read, and write better.

Participate in class and make your voice heard.

There is a great deal of talk these days about intellectual diversity on college campuses. It is true that universities have become increasingly liberal institutions, and Xavier is not immune to such tendencies. Nonetheless, there are plenty of conservatives here, and there remains lots of room for healthy debate and discourse. Regardless of where your political or intellectual allegiances lie, remain engaged in class. Speak up and challenge others, even the professor. Expose yourselves to ideas that you disagree with or find unfamiliar, and take them seriously. Further, always treat your classmates and their ideas (even if you do not share them) with respect. An environment of respectful debate greatly increases the effectiveness of the classroom.

By: Benjamin Giles ~Guest Writer~