Friday, September 16, 2022
Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,
It is our inaugural convocation and you are invited. I particularly and emphatically request that our new students participate since we want to officially welcome you to your whole new life on campus. We want to congratulate you on your success in becoming a Miner and for having decided who you want to be. You have proven yourself worthy of this wonderful institution and we want to welcome you to your new world of “freedom” where now in-depth learning, time management and self-control is the name of the game. Managing your college life properly can hugely enhance the joy of college and put you on the path to professional and personal success. I am sure you are aware already that what your professor discusses is a key indicator of what will be in the test more than anything else and the necessary first element of mastering the material is actually attending the lectures. The additional requirement is the recognition that your instructors will teach you but cannot learn you! They can and will inspire and encourage but cannot motivate. That’s your part.
The main message I wanted to share with you is that YOU WILL BE CHALLENGED! And know that you are on the right path. Hundreds of thousands of your predecessors, over 150 years, attended this great university, were challenged, persevered and went on to lead successful careers and lives. You will, too. Every successful graduate will attest to their many occasions where they were at the end of their wits and “S&T was fully prepared to help me.” We are here to help you but we need to hear from you when you need help. I have written in this forum about my own personal challenges decades ago as an undergraduate student at LSU and how simple interventions by caring individuals helped me overcome the challenges.
We are indeed prepared to help in all aspects of academic, physical, mental, tutoring, counseling and advising. Just know that you are not alone and, more importantly, know that your feelings are not final. I can promise you that regardless of any level of stress and anxiety that you may experience, you will feel entirely different soon after. Again, you are not alone but we need to hear from you (you can email firstname.lastname@example.org). Conversely, if you hear from our offices of undergraduate education, student affairs or our advising center with a request, please respond to them. They are fully equipped to address your needs.
As a member of the Miner family, you have many opportunities that you will come to appreciate and, of course, there are responsibilities. You now have the opportunity to transition from “me” to “we” and to lower the fences between self-interest and shared interest to contribute to the collective passion, energy and aspirations of this wonderful community. Be observant of your surroundings, make friends and care for them. If you see a need, then say something and alert someone.
ENGAGE fully in what the university and the community have to offer. We have over 250 student organizations here at S&T and clearly you can identify with many of them. Outside of the university there are many opportunities to volunteer for a cause of your interest. Influence a life, leave lasting impressions and extend a helping hand if you are so inclined.
Finally, have fun! Make friends. Get plenty of sleep to go from fragile to agile and know that you can flourish even if you flounder from time to time. Just stay the course, seek help and keep your eyes on the prize and I will see you at the convocation and then at graduation.
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