Freshman Finale and Some Advice for the Class of 2019

The week has been insane, and at the moment, my life consists of three things: baby carrots, Mr. Pibb, and sleep deprivation. It was the last week of classes, so please forgive my lack of posts; rest assured, my absence is not for want of things to write.

As I alluded to above, sleep has become a rare commodity in my life. So Tuesday night, when it was a matter of napping or attending Freshman Finale, you could bet the former option was quite tempting.

It’s safe to say I owe my roommate Bria for dragging me down to College Hall with her.

Upon walking into the room, I saw my floor community snagging a group of seats toward the front—classic Beau3, invading just about every public event on campus together. I sat down next to Bria, and we scoured the program until the celebration began.

Our Freshman Class Council VP of Programming, Molly, gave several short introductions, and we heard again from one of the first voices who welcomed us to WashU, Senior Damari Croswell. Standing before us, he showed us the same Rubik’s cube he had held at Convocation, where he had promised to learn to solve it by graduation (it was still unsolved). And he told us about his experiences since he first set foot on campus four years ago. He spoke about getting crazy involved, seeking out his niche, getting through Pre-Med, getting through semester exams, getting to Med School.  And he said something I want to share with all of you:

“If we spend all our time stressing about the ends, then the means become meaningless.”

Some of the smartest students in the country—and the world, for that matter—attend this school. And oh man, they have incredible stories and insights and passions. They are driven, and more than anything else, they want to make a difference.

However, as every single one of us will experience at least once in the next four years, there will come a point where we overlook the journey, undervalue the process. Wanting so desperately to get from Point A to Point B, we will throw ourselves into work and say, “heck, everything in between is just another obstacle.”

I am guilty of this, and in more ways than one (if you ever see me power-walking from Seigle to January, you’ll know what I mean). I have skipped meals, movies, or exercise to hole myself up in the Law Library, whiling away countless hours with Thomas Jefferson’s personal speeches, letters, and essays. Note: this is overkill. Do not attempt.

I am not saying do not do your homework. Do it. And try to enjoy it. But the larger message is this: college is not about getting from A to B. It is not about receiving your diploma and going to graduate school and becoming the world’s greatest poet, pianist, and neurosurgeon. It is about the journey. Because you will not remember the nights you spent studying Orgo until 3am—those will be a blur. You will remember the nights you spent making pancakes with your floormates (and dreadfully burning them, might I add), hosting a marvelous Christmas Party in your common room, and blasting Taylor Swift while driving to John’s Donuts at midnight.

Cherish the means. You get four years, so do not spend them constantly looking to the future. As I sit here processing the end of freshman year, I can tell you they will fly by faster than you can figure out where the engineering building is (unless you’re an engineering student. Then hopefully you will find that building relatively quickly…).