Dear 1st Year Me,
You are about to begin the most amazing experience ever – your time as a Glendon student! It’s time to move away from your parents’ home and move to the big city by yourself. Are you ready? You think so, but you’ll never guess what’s going to happen over the next five years.
First of all: get involved. You say that you’re only going to focus on your studies and that you won’t get involved because you had your fix during high school. But you’re SO wrong. You’re going to spend all five years being super involved with residence life, GSCU, GLgbt* and more. And you’re going to love it.
You’re going to grow as a person, as a citizen, as an advocate, but mostly as a leader. You’ll learn to love talking about leadership, helping others see their own leadership potential, and reading about it.
Right now, you think that Glendon is perfect because it’s teacher education program. And it’s a great program. But guess what? You won’t get in. And that’s okay. Because you’ll learn Glendon is perfect because of ALL the opportunities you’ll have, not just the one that got away.
You’ll apply to a job for recruitment on a whim, and through that you’ll enter into a world of student affairs, university administration, and communications. You’ll refocus your career path, work for a number of the different offices on campus, and even go to an international student affairs conference.
You’ll also become infatuated with TEDTalks. So you’ll get involved with TEDxYorkU. And then you’ll give a TEDTalk. And you’ll never let anyone forget it because you’ll mention it every chance you get.
Around your third or fourth year, the concept of “FOMO” (fear of missing out) will become a buzzword on the internet. You’ll find yourself relating to this so much. One thing I want you to do – learn to say no, learn that it’s okay to not always be busy, and learn to take care of yourself.
Because you’re going to be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the end of first year. You don’t even know what that is right now, and it’s scary. But you’re going to be okay.
You’ll learn the value of 6-8 hours of sleep a night, which is much more important than any paper, exam, event, or meeting. You’ll need to make a commitment to be healthy and start paying attention to what you eat, which means learning how to cook. Which will become your destressor.
Learn to give thanks.
Give thanks to your family – they’re incredible. You have the best family in the world, hands down. You’re also going to get a super cute niece. Love her dearly.
Give thanks to your friends – they’ll keep you in check, make you learn a lot, and make you laugh for hours on end.
Give thanks to the staff and faculty at Glendon. They’ll be instrumental in your development as an academic and a university administrator. You’ll merge your sociology work with your future in university administration. (Oh yeah, you’re going to change your major to Sociology.)
But most of all, understand that you are joining something bigger than you. Your time at Glendon will be spent serving the community – but never make it about you. It’s about developing others to become leaders. It’s about leaving Glendon a better place than you found it.
And that’ll happen. Glendon will be a more inclusive, more engaged, more socially aware, and more welcoming community than when you start. And that change will be because of the work done in residence, in student government, with GLgbt* and safe space awareness, and by working with those around you – you can’t and won’t do it alone. And the ones that will benefit from your work the most: future generations.
Right at the end of your degree, you will truly learn what Glendon’s motto, Alteri Sæculo, means.
“For future generations.”
As much as you have grown and benefited from your time at Glendon, the people who you should hope will benefit from everything you’ve done are people you may never meet. It will be the future Glendonites. It will be the ones who may never know your name, but still feel comfortable, included, and engaged when they step on campus, just like you felt the first time you visited campus.
Community, opportunity, self-care, gratitude, and selflessness.
That’s what Glendon will teach you. That’s what you’ll carry forward as you graduate.
Enjoy the ride as you learn. Make mistakes. Learn. Grow.
Glendon is just the beginning. You’re on to bigger, and better things.
5th Year You.
P.S. Make sure you blog regularly. It’s pretty cool looking back at your first years posts from 5 years ago.
That’s it, that’s all folks. This is my last eAmbassador blogpost.
If you want to see what I’m up to, you can follow my personal blog: http://www.juanluisgarrido.com. I’ll be talking about higher ed, social media, leadership, all things queer and latin@, and much more.
Make sure you check out the other eAmbassador blogs!