Dear VCU Class of 2020,
As a graduating senior merely weeks away from entering the daunting abyss known as the workforce, I am as equally envious of you as I am excited for you.
In the midst of studying for AP exams and planning for prom, it’s easy to forget the inevitable reality that, in just a few short months, you’re about to embark upon a four year (or so) length adventure that will become the most pivotal part of your life thus far — both academically, professionally and personally.
Class of 2020, not only do you make me feel as old as the dirt VCU was built upon, but you remind me so much of myself as a graduating high school senior — so anxious, so excited, so ready to take on the beast known as the college experience. I can assure you, at VCU, you will find just that — an experience — and a community that not only are you a part of, but one that becomes a part of you. The sense of community your college or university brings to you is an often overlooked part of the collegiate experience, especially if you’re planning on heading to a school as big as VCU — but despite having over 30,000 undergraduates, we are all Rams looking to leave our mark on the University, the Richmond area and, inevitably, the world.
There is so much more that goes into a college experience than just sitting in a classroom — which is why I encourage you all to “find your fit” — an overused and somewhat clichéd truism which simply put means to consider all aspects of a college or university before committing to one. I urge you all to truly understand what it means to be immersed in a college environment — a place where you can find people at the library at 4 a.m., pulling an all-nighter for their test tomorrow morning, a place where just a simple walk through the Commons means being welcomed with members of student organizations, urging you to get involved and make a difference, a place where “field trips” means taking a trip to the U.S. Court of Appeals to see policy being made or to the James River to learn about aquatic environments.
Class of 2020 — I know you’re excited about finally being on your own — for the freedom that is practically synonymous with college and for the new experiences and opportunities it presents. At VCU, that is exactly what you’ll get. I encourage you all to look at VCU beyond just the residence halls and the lecture rooms — I guarantee you VCU is more faceted than that. Pay attention to the students, who come from not only all over the country, but all over the world to study here. Learn about how to get involved with the over 500 diverse student organizations, which serve as major contributors to the Richmond community and abroad. Engross yourself in the city, which has become a hub of art and music as well as the urban home of a lengthy list of Fortune 500 companies and successful local businesses. VCU’s famous tagline “make it real,” may seem cliche to some, but it truly is the embodiment of the VCU experience.
My college experience was filled with memories — of sleepless nights, and over-exhaustion, of uncertainty and instability, but it did not come without the memories of self-discovery, of eye-opening experiences, of meeting the people who I would later call my best friends — the memories I look back on now, as a graduating senior. Collectively, those are the memories that make up any college experience, and I am so excited for you, Class of 2020, to start your journey.
Senior Marketing Assistant, University Student Commons and Activities
Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, Class of 2016