“Been away so long I hardly knew the place. Gee, it’s good to be back home.”

– The Beatles, ‘Back In The USSR’

226737_10200341944053162_1018049276_nFinish my summer job: check. Unpack my posters, clothing, and food: check. Spend hours putting together my IKEA furniture: check. Buy my schoolbooks: …almost check.

And just like that, summer is officially over. Classes are back in session and campus is bustling. Before you know it, you’ll be back in the swing of getting up early, going to classes, savoring free periods, and seeing your friends in the Barbelin courtyard.

For those who are new to SJU, whether you’re a freshman or a transfer, welcome to your new home on Hawk Hill! I remember as a freshman being pretty excited to experience college for the first time, but also fairly terrified at the idea of living on my own in a place where I only knew a handful of people. Although I only live about two hours away from Philadelphia, I knew I couldn’t just run right to my parents anymore if something frustrating or frightening happened. Granted, I understood that this was part of growing up, but it freaked me out nonetheless.

My apprehensions were put to rest after moving into my dorm (LaFarge lover for life!) and meeting so many people who were in my same situation. Knowing that almost everyone shared these uncertainties was somehow comforting; if one of us could make it, we all could. 

And, with a little help from our friends, we all did.

Two years later and we’re all still making it (or at least trying our best to do so), one day at a time. Some days it’s harder than others, that’s for sure; it can be easy to lose sight of your long-term dreams, finding yourself caught up in the seemingly meaningless monotony of the day-to-day grind and craving short-term pleasures. Sometimes it’s tough to find the motivation to roll out of bed to get to your morning classes, or to go to your night class when you’d rather go out and party until the sun rises. Letting loose is necessary at times to keep you sane, sure, but there needs to be a healthy balance. And in order to maintain that balance, you’ve got to put in the work, holding in your mind an image of the life you’d like to create for yourself when your time at SJU comes to a close. It may seem daunting at first to think of “the real world”, to consider a life not lived in a dorm or in lecture halls. But that image of what you want for yourself doesn’t have to be a crystal clear picture; my goal post-college is to be able to use my skills to craft a career and life that fulfills me and betters the world in some way, whatever that happens to mean when the time comes.

With that in mind, know that you are not on this journey toward a better life by yourself. We are here to celebrate each other’s accomplishments, console each other in times of loss, and inspire each other to realize our own personal truths. In working, living, and loving together, we are strengthened both individually and as a whole.

What I’m really getting at here is that with a lot of hard work and a little help from our friendswe can become the people we’re striving to be, all the while helping others improve themselves on their own personal paths to success (however they choose to define it). Whether it’s your first year of college or your last, I sincerely wish you best of luck in all your various endeavors during this semester, and truly hope you know that if you’re in need a friend to help you in any way, I’m always here for you!

Posted in: Family & Friends, Housing, Philadelphia & Region, Student Life, Studying, Classes & Lectures