An Open Letter to First-Years

Dear Class of 2019,

Have you been a part of these conversations yet?:

  • "Are you sure you want to specialize in that? UN looks good…but $$"
  • “You’re already behind; you should have started your internship search two months ago.”
    “Umm, but I got accepted then.”
    “Yeah, starting before that is even better.”
  • "If you don’t go to all the networking events, someone else will steal your potential new friends. And jobs!" #deathbyFOMO
  • "What are you choosing from tonight's buffet of events?" (read: which event would still have the best free food?)

You must feel like the announcement tack-boards on the sixth floor: over-stabbed with information, lost in the crowd, and in serious danger of collapse. Your mind is in overdrive. Attention spans are strained. Nerves - twitchy. Now, smile!!

If that wasn’t enough, anything else sound familiar?:

  • Join our student organization. Meet us at SIPAFest - let The Hunger Games begin.
  • Micro, Macro, Quant? I didn’t understand anything the professor was talking about. Fail. 
  • Rapidly Recruiting Friends. Cliques are a tough nut to crack. Done.
  • Work-study = not fun-fun, but debt-debt = bad-bad.
  • So, how do I get a locker? What’s their uni?
  • “Oh, it’s on Orgsync…you’ll figure it out.”
  • “Oh, it’s on Courseworks… you’d BETTER figure it out.”
  • Where are the TA’s office hours…what’s “Group Study One”?
  • Is this professor any good? Should I switch sections? Is she a nice grader? 
  • Recitation is optional, right? Like, actually optional?
  • How many happy hour socials are there!? I can’t be any more social.
  • Why does this metro system suck? Just tell me how to get to midtown!
  • No, this is room 405, 405a is … elsewhere.
  • New York City sure is…charming...
  • I mean, this place is good, but when does CBS take applications?

This weight will roll over you. It will rub off most of that new student polish along the way. It will matte your eyes and iron out those annoying bushy tails. Classes will settle down and, within three weeks, you will know where the best-valued places to eat are, where your classes are, and what the professors expect. You will have a close set of friends to lean on, but still have not lost the hunger for more. Your commute will become routine and you’ll know everything about Courseworks. 

Things will settle down. You will overcome these logistical challenges. And bigger questions will well to the surface of your mind like, “What after SIPA?” "What should I do with my life?" "Will it be worth it?"

Regardless of what the deep question is -- (Remember) you’re here because you deserve to be here.

Breathe. Believe. Welcome, and good luck!


The Class of 2018
(well, a couple of the students, anyway)