Last week’s welcome events reminded me of the incredible rush I had exactly one year ago when I was a freshman coming to St. Thomas. There was a mix of excitement and nervousness for me as I was moving my stuff into Murray Hall and meeting the three men I would be spending the next nine months with. After I was finished meeting my new roommates I stepped onto the Upper Quad and realized the immensity of my surroundings. Freshmen were running around everywhere; shaking hands, passing smiles, starting games of football, and checking out campus. There were so many events to go to, so many people to meet, and little time to spare. All this excitement made me feel like I was missing too much. There were so many opportunities. I just couldn’t pass them up.
When I look back at my high school days, I find it hard to believe I was not involved in any activities. Band or choir? Nope. Hockey, football, track or soccer? Negative. Theatre or student government? Not even on the radar. Coming to St. Thomas made me realize all those missed opportunities to get involved and meet so many new friends. During orientation I really looked for new opportunities. Sure enough, I happened upon the USG booth and heard about the freshman elections held the second week of school.
I decided I would run for freshman class president. This was a big undertaking for someone who knew almost no one or the job description. Despite those setbacks and the fact that I had no idea how to run a student government campaign, I had an amazing time meeting many new people. I knocked on doors, shook hands and passed out fliers.
Somehow, I came away with the job. Once class president, I had an incredible time throughout the year working with the freshman council to put on events, and met more people. I’ve learned so much about the school and the people that make it what it is. Yet, I still have a lot to learn.
I made sure to sign up for more groups and activities this year, including Student Alumni Council and Tommie Ambassadors. In the spring, I ran another campaign for class president and was lucky enough to get the job again.
I never imagined the opportunities that awaited me at St. Thomas. After being here for one year I’ve only scratched the surface. I’m still learning the system and I meet new people everyday.
These experiences over the past year surprised me for sure and they all started during welcome week. My message to the class of 2014 is that over these next few weeks, shake as many hands, go to as many events, and sign up for as many things as you can. Most students would agree with me that getting the real college experience is contained in your involvement on campus, whether it’s clubs, sports or organizations. Go for it. You’ll have no regrets.