UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSIONS at WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY in ST. LOUIS

‘Everyone just cared, and in the best possible way’

I’d like to re-introduce you to Henry, a former 360 blogger who is now a WashU alum. He graduated in 2015 and recently came back for a visit. Read his musings about his time here as a prospective student, a student, and now an alum.

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It comes in bits and pieces. The first time I ate a Holmes wrap, sitting next to my mom on my admitted-students visit as a senior in high school, I had no idea that this room would be the place where I would I spent dozens of hours studying, scheming with my friends, and giggling on a slightly awkward but wonderful second date with my girlfriend. All I could think at the time was, “Wow, I love this place!”

That hasn’t changed. I visited campus a few months ago as a young alum. I still had dozens of friends here. It was like being home, like going back to your childhood. All the memories rushed back: the dorm I lived in freshman year, the Bears Den, where I ate almost all my meals and ended many a good night and many a bad night. I found myself sitting in the DUC, pretending I was a college kid again, amazed that I was still able to get on the WiFi. I even tricked a few people into thinking I was still a student. It was a strange feeling knowing it was all over, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m not sentimental, but WashU did something to me. Something amazing that I’ll always keep with me: WashU taught me that if I want something to be different in the world, it was my job to make it happen. That if I saw a better way to do things, it was my duty to implement it. That there are people who want to help, always, people who were looking out for me.

I felt so loved, always. Everyone just cared, and in the best possible way. Professors who were so excited about teaching us obscure theorems they continued to chat about them for hours afterward. Residential advisors who would stay up all night if we needed to talk. WUSAs (WashU Student Associates) who would bake our floor cookies and watch “Boy Meets World” with us every Friday.

So I got to relive my childhood when I entered WashU, and got to grow up again in all the ways I never was able to in high school. Of course, the generic things: time management, navigating a social scene, studying. But more than that. WashU instilled in me curiosity; it instilled in me drive.

It must be something they put in Holmes wraps. When I graduated in 2015, my mantra was “Here we go, life! Let’s do this!” I spent four years working around the clock to learn about myself and the world, and then got to go out into the world and change it.

Now, 10 months later, I am thankful for that letter WashU sent me, asking me to visit. What a blessing. I’d fallen in love within minutes of getting to campus, but little did I know that it would be so much more than that.

My next chapter is in San Francisco, working for BlackRock. I write new business proposals, which I never imagined I would when I declared my writing minor three years ago. Every day means something new that I haven’t seen before, but I’ve played that game for four years at WashU and it’s a game I love.

Working life can sometimes be like a class, except the more effort you put in, the more impact you make, on your company, on your skill set, and on your future.