(Op-ed) First-years: Don’t let your year stop you

Dear fellow first-years: don’t be afraid to take advantage of every resource and opportunity available to you.

If the rest of you are like me, the first few weeks of school were invigorating — I felt like I could do anything. I put my email next to every club, applied for any job regardless of how much it experience it called for and put myself out there.

If you continued to be like me, this energy and confidence slowly wore down. Eventually, the excitement of all the newness wore off, and reality got to you:

“I’m just a first-year, I can’t lead upperclassmen.”

“I’m just a first-year, I should stick to 100-levels.”

“I’m just a first-year, I’m not ready to start a club.”

I want to tell you all something: that’s bull.

Your year in college does not determine your strength as an individual, you do.

Your age does not determine your value in a group, you do.

Back in September, I took a lot on: being an editor for The Mooring Mast, a Resident Hall Council president and working for the Pacific Lutheran University Community Garden.

You can find places for you to fit, too; don’t be afraid of the abounding opportunities.

Take advantage of the plentiful resources. Attend some Emerging Leader events, go to the numerous Career Connections workshops and drop-in hours, chat with your professors.

Go to The Career Connections office and don’t be afraid to apply for jobs that say “management.”

Go to involvement fairs and don’t be afraid to tell clubs you will step up and take an active role.

Come and write for The Mooring Mast, make your own LASR show or create a TV episode for Mast TV. Attend RHC meetings and help plan an event.

As the year went on, I’ve left some of those positions. It’s hard to take my own advice sometimes, and take advantage of all that is in front of me.
It’s hard to always feel like I can do it all, It’s easy to lose some confidence. In fact, looking to a future of many more classes, late nights and hard work, sometimes I just lose all of my confidence.

So let’s have this letter be an encouragement for both me and you, first-year reader.

We are first-years, and we have unique perspectives to bring.

We are first-years, and we can re-energize lifeless clubs and programs.

We are first-years, and we will be PLU leaders.

Originally printed in the March 6 issue of The Mooring Mast and online: http://mastmedia.plu.edu/2015/03/06/first-years-dont-let-your-year-stop-you/

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