top of page

Letter From a Northwestern Graduate

When I arrived on the Evanston campus of Northwestern University on September 19th, 2012, I did not know any of my fellow incoming students I observed hastily moving boxes into the empty rooms of Bobb Hall. The eight days of orientation, pithily titled “Wildcat Welcome” after the school’s mascot, was exhausting, terrifying, and viscerally exciting. Within 30 days I had established a core friend group that I recently posed for photos with at our commencement in June 2016, nearly four years later. In fact, by the time I watched the sun rise over the purple-tinged horizon of Lake Michigan the night following my last final exam of freshman year, I was fully enmeshed in the Northwestern community to the point that I genuinely could not envision attending another school.

In truth, to be enmeshed in the Northwestern community is to be enmeshed in several communities. No university community is a monolith, but Northwestern is truly an exemplar for the well rounded student and the tide of ambition pushes most undergraduates towards achievement in many areas. The old adage “Pick two: sleep, school and a social life” is defied by NU students daily, and it is common to be involved in a service group, a creative organization, a research lab, Greek life and even a club sport. This may sound overwhelming and it initially often is, but from the day you arrive on campus you will be surrounded with mentors, support systems, and most importantly, friends. Wildcat Welcome orientation is comprised of unusually effective programs that allow students a wealth of opportunity to discover and develop common interests, passions, and goals and friendships form incredibly quickly.

I cannot give you a perfect guide to effectively maximize your potential at University, but I do have a few points of advice I feel are universally applicable. First, understand that your plans for your life will change. This isn’t to say that your dreams of being a physician or a journalist will not be accomplished, but your idea of your life and your career will be dramatically altered by the depth and breadth of your experiences. You will understand to a far greater extent your own strengths and weaknesses, and you should utilize this self-awareness to contribute to your discipline, career field, and community. I also advise you to remember your passions and do not stifle your creative side, in whichever way this creativity manifests itself. This is not limited to performance or visual art; Design for America is a program that allows engineers and scientists to innovate technologies for a diverse range of clients. Finally, remember to breath. Schools like Northwestern can be anxiety-inducing and you must always to remember to take time for yourself. Go see a movie or walk to the scenic Baha'i Temple. Hang out with friends and take a night off. Don’t get so caught up in short term projects that you alienate what matters most in the long term.

8 views0 comments


bottom of page