The Scarlet

Dear Hypothetical First-Year,

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You’ve made it! Hooray! You’ve been at Clark for three months. You have located the Traina Center. You compost deftly. You could, in a pinch, assemble a caf meal using only rice, the salad bar, and the panini press. Congratulations.

But there’s a crucial difference between being adjusted to Clark and being used to your role at Clark. When you enroll in college, basically everyone you know tells you to try new things, explore, find your passion, etc.

At this point, you may still not have found it. That’s cool. Keep looking. If you think you have found it, try again. Taking a class or two and going to a few club meetings doesn’t mean that you’re locked into anything. You still owe it to yourself to take risks and do things you aren’t used to doing. Join a sports team. Take a class that doesn’t fulfill any graduation requirements. Write an article for the newspaper. Do something new.

At this point, you don’t have to squeeze yourself into any mold. (Actually, you never have to squeeze yourself into any mold.) You have until the end of your sophomore year to declare your major, and that’s only a very, very small part of the battle. Take advantage of the time and liberty that you have now to do things you don’t really understand.

In the real world, mistakes can be costly, time-consuming, and expensive. It’s hard to change your career trajectory at the drop of a hat. But now, you have the opportunity to fail in a supportive setting. You’d be a fool not to take that chance.


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Dear Hypothetical First-Year,