Written by Seyi Olusina.
Hello new Hokies and welcome to the greatest university in the world!
I am sure this is something you have heard before, but, by the end of four years here, it will be something you truly believe and understand. I want to tell you a story about two students to show you how different your experience can be depending how much you put into it.
Student One moved in very excited for school, but when he got here, he realized that maybe it was not all he thought it would be. Making friends was not the problem for him but finding a place to call home was. This student felt lost in the numbers even though he went to a lot of events to try to find his place. His academics suffered because he spent more time seeking out a group or place to call “home” than he did on his school work. At the end of the semester there was not much this student was proud of and he was glad to have just survived the semester. This young man spent the whole Christmas break wondering if he was really ready for college. He was scared.
Student Two had people in his life who asked him hard questions about himself. Over time, he started to open up to these people and reveal his true colors. The influences like RA’s, faculty, and friends helped him discover the things he had always been passionate about but had buried deep within himself. This student started to embrace his passions and open up and share them with others. He found his home with people who shared similar passions, and before he knew it he realized the school was not so big. Though the school had a lot of people, he found it almost impossible to meet someone and not share one thing in common with them. His grades were much better than Student One’s because he learned to balance the want for a “home” and school. He knew he was here primarily to get an education but he needed to also grow as a person.
You may read these stories and think, "Well...two different people with two different experiences." It’s not. These are the stories of me, Seyi Olusina. I struggled my first semester to find my place here at Tech. I made ton of friends but was not able to make the deeper connections I sought. After the break I came back determined to turn it around, and it has been the best experience ever. College is hard and I can promise you that you will fail and fall flat on your face at least once--for some, metaphorically and some even physically. The thing that turned my college experience around was the people here. I had two RA’s who became my friends and pushed me to share who I am with those around me. There were faculty in my classes and in the Division of Student Affairs who encouraged me to take one day at a time. I had mentors who saw potential and helped guide me, but were also very honest. You will fall on hard times, but the people here at this beautiful university are the ones who will help you get through.
I have two tips that I believe are important for a successful college experience:
The first one is to make connections with people like you and different from you because they will help shape your perspectives and challenge you in the best ways. They will help bring out the real you, which leads me to my second point. Find your passions. College is a great place to learn, but what good is all that education if you cannot tie it to what you are passionate about? Find the things that make you happy and are important to you, and figure out how to use them to practice Ut Prosim and make the world around you better.
I truly believe anyone who does those two things will have the experience of a lifetime here. So go make lasting relationships and let your passions grow and flourish. When you do that and embrace Ut Prosim as a way of life, you will only make the Hokie Nation that much better!