I was thrilled lately to be meeting with one of our incoming first-year students and have him, spontaneously and without solicitation, parrot back to me something I had written in a letter to him and his classmates. It was exciting to know that I had inspired him with my message, which was composed to our new students as a way of teaching them what to focus on as they begin college. Each year, I am filled with so much hope for the success of our students. I crave their learning, their creating, their challenging their fellow students and their own assumptions about the world.
But I know it won’t be easy and that students require guidance to be in a position to succeed. I hoped that this letter might offer a first step in helping them grow into brilliant college participants, active and engaged. I’ve provided it to you here for your information and edification, and “bolded” the section the savvy first-year student repeated, verbatim, back to me.
Welcome to Loyola University New Orleans! Thank you for choosing us for your undergraduate education. As many have already said to you and as I am sure you have told yourself, this is a new adventure. I know you are eager to get started. Some advice:
1. Take it as it comes. Don’t dream up what your college experience will be like. Let the experience show you as it starts, and be open to meeting new people, stretching your talents and what you think is possible for you.
2. Learn about St. Ignatius. Be sure to spend some time thinking about what “Ignatian” means and the 12 ideals of a Jesuit education. Here they are:
- Pursuit of excellence
- Respect for the world, its history and mystery
- Learning from experience
- Contemplative vision formed by hope
- Development of personal potential
- Critical thinking and effective communication
- Appreciation of things both great and small
- Commitment to service
- Linking faith with justice
- Special concern for the poor and oppressed
- International and global perspective
- Finding God in all things.
3. Go to class. This may sound silly, but some students let themselves miss a few. Soon, they find themselves far behind and in danger of putting up some pretty bad grades and laying waste to their investment. The best analogy for this is a plane ticket. You booked a flight, so you will take the flight. There is no world in which you would book a reservation and then deliberately miss the flight. You “booked” an education, so be sure to attend class.
4. Be in balance. “Everything in moderation” is a great cliché to hold onto as you begin your college career. If you see this time as frenetic, it will be. If you allow yourself some time for contemplation and reflection, get some exercise, keep a schedule that you can handle, you’ll be in great shape.
We are eager to greet you in the fall! Please be sure to contact our enrollment management office if we may be of assistance to you in any way.
All the best,
Salvadore A. Liberto