Just over two years ago, I sat down to write the first Letter To a Future Resident, it was at the start of an experience that would change all of us so much more than we knew—a global pandemic. Last year I wrote another, this time speaking on my eager excitement, a broken arm and finding my purpose at the U. Now as I wrap up my fourth year here and prepare to graduate, I thought it only made sense to write one final letter.
Dear Future Resident,
When I started college, I never would have guessed all the things that would happen during my time at the U. I broke my arm, experienced great loss, saw the inauguration of two University Presidents, made my forever friends, experienced a pandemic, tried new things, applied to a master’s program and discovered who I was in the meantime. Sufficed to say, these past four years were far more exciting than I thought they’d be. As I was reflecting on what to share with you this time, I kept getting stuck. I have already spoken about the opportunities that made me fall in love with Utah and how I found my purpose, so what else is there to share? I thought about sharing some funny and maybe embarrassing stories or trying to come up with some pretentious and sage wisdom to pass on. After much consideration I figured why can’t I do a little bit of both?
If you’ve read my former letters to a future resident, you may recall this was the year I broke my arm on my bike three days after moving on campus. That bike, by the way was a gift from my grandparents that got completely busted, I didn’t have the heart to tell them, so they still ask about how I’m enjoying it. If you ever meet them, just be cool. The look of pure dread my professor had when I walked into my first day of my drawing class with a cast on my right arm was priceless, thankfully though, I’m a lefty. Despite all the chaos of my first semester, my first year was when I learned how to learn. The U taught me how to develop my own study habits, how to ask for help and who to ask for help from.
This was my tough year. In high school you often learn that Junior year is the hardest; in college, many say it’s the sophomore year. You might’ve heard of sophomore slump; well, I had a horrible case of it. I struggled to maintain my motivation, I got caught up in my job more than anything else and I wasn’t excited about my education anymore. While the year before I learned how to be an effective student, this was the year I struggled to figure out how to apply what I learned to myself. Towards the end of the year as I was just starting to get back on track, we welcomed a pandemic. Despite all the bad choices I made for my own education, this year showed me that I needed to and could do better.
This was the year that no one really saw coming. Despite how hard it was to live on campus during the pandemic, this was one of my favorite years in school. I got to live in an apartment for the first time—and with my best friend. He made it so easy because I always had someone I wanted to see! We got to share our favorite activities, went on countless trips to get chicken nuggets and figured out how to clean the dishes as a team! Additionally, I took some of my favorite classes. I only had one in-person class, but it was so fulfilling because it stretched me as an artist and reignited my passion for my studies. This was the year I got back on track.
Despite the fact that I knew this was my last year, I don’t think I had truly realized what that meant when fall semester began. I was excited and kind of terrified of what was to come, and by January, so many things had already happened that I needed a nap! Now in my last semester I’ve really come to appreciate all the people I’ve met, the memories made and the experiences I partook in while here. The hardest part about preparing to leave is having to say goodbye to all the people I’ve known for so long. I couldn't have imagined the strength of the relationships I've built and now I can’t imagine my life without them.
These past four years have been weird, challenging, fun and sometimes scary. I hope that for all you future residents that are starting your college experience or even those continuing it, that you get the chance to enjoy all the things to come! You have an amazing community behind you ready to cheer you on, offer you support and challenge you when you need it. Don’t waste these opportunities and don’t forget to try something new every once in a while—you just might like it.
A former resident