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Don't blink

By Pete Adams
On August 20, 2012

All summer I have known that I've needed to write an article
to incoming freshmen, and in form consistent to the first three years of my college career, I start putting words into a document on 1:14 a.m. But enough about me, let's talk about you. First off, it is great to meet the people who have justified tuition increases every year. Without a doubt, you are coming to Xavier with many unanswered questions.
How weird is my roommate? How difficult will my classes be? Will the lack of a proven low post presence lead to Xavier missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005? That's my most pressing concern.. not whether I will be employed in nine months. One question you should be
asking yourself is how you will sucessfully handle this new found freedom you have obtained. And with 100% certainty I can say you won't be able to. In one way, shape or form you are going to fail. It might be a test, it might be a relationship, it might be a personal problem, but it will happen. I've screwed up countless times. Sometimes it took me a
couple minutes to get over it, but there are some mistakes that I still haven't gotten over. When you visited schools they
tried to sell you the perfect experience. Obviously, no college is going to talk about the bad; it would be terrible business. However, no university can shelter you from the independence and freedom you will experience in the next four years. At the risk of sounding like an old, senile senior, I'm going to start to focus on the enormous opportunity you have been given. I would pay obscene amounts of money to be in your position. It is almost impossible to grasp the potential these four years hold. The freedom and independence discussed earlier is also the catalyst
to forming the person you will become. In four years you can put yourself in a position to do anything you want.
You can start a million dollar business, be a nurse who impacts thousands of lives, become an advocate of a social cause you believe in. The possibilities are endless.
This blank slate of raw potential is something that you shouldn't take for granted. Last year, as I was struggling
through the principles of taxation and intermediate accounting II, I would often encounter classmates freaking out about an upcoming test. In an attempt to quell concerns,
I would offer this statement: "Do you know how many people
would love to have the chance to fail a college exam?" In this country, 70% of the population doesn't have a college degree and most of the world will never step foot on a college campus as a student. This doesn't mean you owe
the rest of the world something. This means you owe yourself something. You will without a doubt screw up over the next four years. You won't believe it at the time, but
these mistakes are for the best. They help mold who you are, what you want to be and what you believe to be important. You owe it to yourself to overcome these mistakes and learn from them. It is easier said than done,
but don't be too hard on yourself when these mistakes inevitably occur. Learn from them and do the best you can to move on. Despite the enormous opportunity and failures that these next four years hold, don't take college too seriously. These are the most fun four years of your life. You are going to make friends that you consider to be family. You have the ability to do whatever you want on
a whim. Like me, you could one day look at a clock that reads 1:30 a.m. and think, "it's really not that late." The camaraderie you will have with your friends is indescribable. You will form countless memories. Some of them will be appropriate to tell your parents, and some of
them will not be. The only downside to all of these things is how fast time goes. A few days before my younger brother was about to go off to college like you, I found myself
reminiscing about my freshmen year. The reoccurring theme that came up was how fast time went. "Don't blink" were the words of advice I gave him. It is unfathomable how fast time goes when you are in college. Years seem like
mere months, months seem like weeks and weeks seem like days. And for how fast the time goes, it is unfair to yourself to dwell on the mistakes you will make. Learn,
move on and enjoy the next four years and appreciate the opportunity that they hold.


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