Justin Guiffre: Write your future, start today

If you’re reading this, I envy you. Because you’re probably an incoming freshman, just like I was three long years ago. It also means that you have some of your most amazing years ahead of you. But nobody can tell you what the next four years will be like; that is up to you. So make sure to write the story you want to tell.

Start today. Don’t wait for somebody to make you have fun, don’t just expect that you will get everything out of a class or a professor because it’s college and don’t wait to make your place at this University. Sign up for student organizations, talk to people and get out into the city. Four years may seem like a long time, but trust me, it will fly by. Start making the story of your college years today; you don’t want to waste a second.

The students who come to love GW and what “happens here” are the ones that make the most of their time. You are in an incredible place to do just that. A much better slogan for GW would be “only at GW.” It’s only because I attend this University that I have been able to take international affairs classes from contemporary diplomats, watched poetry slams on U Street, ran to the White House with thousands of my peers after America elected its first black president, taken a date on a late night monument tour (it totally works), and so on.

But these things only happened because I realized sometime around the end of my freshman year that I had to make them happen. The students who don’t love this school are almost always the ones who don’t come to this realization.

GW is an amazing place, but only because the students, faculty and administration strive for that excellence. Now it’s your turn. In addition to having new experiences and learning all you can, don’t forget to make improvements to our community wherever you can.

Now for the tough stuff.

I’m not going to sugarcoat this: college is going to be hard. I’ve learned that the only things that ever matter are. I can’t tell you how much sleep I’ve lost to homework and heartbreak. The next four years are going to hold difficult experiences. Doing badly in a class for the first time, having to live with somebody you don’t like, being away from home – none of these things is easy.

The hardest will be the things that nobody can warn you about. A year ago one of my closest high school friends passed away in a car accident only ten days before I was supposed to see her. One of her last text messages read, “Can’t wait to hang out!” Nobody ever said something like this was coming. At 18 years old, we feel invincible. Don’t ever forget that what you have here is temporary and fragile. Be safe, but enjoy every moment.

Now go write the story you want to tell.

The writer, a senior majoring in international affairs, is The Hatchet’s managing editor and former opinions editor.

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