It’s me. Sten. If I know you like I think I do, you’re probably asking yourself the following question: how in the world am I going to do it? Come to think of it, that was the exact question I asked myself when I first stepped onto Carleton’s campus. Since I’m literally speaking to you from the future and thus know how this story ends, or should I say continues? Allow me to share a few words of wisdom.
First, that feeling in the pit of your stomach that you’re currently experiencing? That’s your gut telling you that this new space can and will become your second home. You’re going to connect with your roommate. You’re going to fall in love with this picturesque self-contained campus during Fall Orientation Week. You’re going to quickly come to the realization that pop culture lied to you all throughout your teenage years! University isn’t designed to separate those who can from those who cannot. Rather, its intention is to help you discover your strengths, improve your weaknesses and carve your path towards personal, academic and professional success.
Second, the decision you’ll make when choosing your First-Year Seminar (FYSM) is going to define your career. Yes, your first university course will set you on a journey towards becoming a…Recruitment Officer?
Trust me when I tell you, this is what you were born to do. You were meant to share your experiences, to support students as they transition from high school to university, to entertain audiences young and old as they discover everything Canada’s Capital University has to offer…convinced yet?
Without Professor Dorland’s beautifully delivered FYSM, which emphasized public speaking skills, how to read an audience, speech making and attentive content-delivery methods, you wouldn’t have been able to muster the courage and apply for a three-month contract, parlaying into a 14 year (and counting) labour of love.
Third, you’re going to become a five-time intramural volleyball champion. We’re talking Kobe Bryant territory.
Fourth, you are going to face quite the personal roller-coaster. Nobody can prepare you for what life will throw your way – not even your future self – because you have to feel disappointment in order to understand it. What I can tell you is, contrary to popular belief, you have an extremely supportive network at your disposal so do us both a favour and use it!
Asking for help isn’t an admission of one’s faults. Rather, it’s a commitment towards fulfilling one’s full potential. In the history of human kind, nobody has ever been able to accomplish greatness on their own…not even Kanye West. The sooner you can learn this lesson, the better your overall experience will be. If you lean on your family, friends, classmates and professors, you will unlock your own personal library of information, guidance, motivation and success!
Finally, cherish each and every moment. From devouring your first meal in residence – chicken burgers for the win! – to embracing your walk of fame across the convocation stage, your four years of study will be filled with meaningful experiences. Take the time to reflect on every single one, for they will fuel your desire for more growth and guide you towards a better appreciation of your true self.
Follow these five steps and I promise you’ll leave your mark on this institution. Good luck and remember: reach for the stars so if you fall, you’ll land on a cloud.
BONUS COVERAGE: Stenley looks back 18 years and shares his advice for ‘2kSten’ in this exclusive video.
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