Dear First Years,
I have been sitting on this letter for a while. It is as difficult to borrow from the tradition and write to you about the exciting new experiences of university right now as it is to sing accolades about the silver linings of being first years in the midst of a pandemic. I want to speak to you without echoing the words of a Coronavirus-themed commercial for a chain restaurant.
It’s been said countless times to every student over the course of their education – everyone’s path is different. Most of us who chose Waterloo Engineering accepted the veracity of this statement, but never applied it to ourselves. We worked hard for high grades, devoted ourselves to extracurriculars, and forged ahead on our path towards graduation. We were prepared for a long, bumpy road through university, but we did not envision a roadblock so large that we would have to take a different route.
Now, you have all been thrown off the beaten path, and subject to the Wild West of online lectures and Zoom office hours. It may be frustrating, annoying, and unfair, but you are all in it together, and your hard work will pay off. When the pandemic is over, you will have already adapted to the workload of a university student, and you can do all the first-year stuff – like meet your classmates, get lost in DWE, be terrorized by a goose, pull all-nighters on campus, and attend Laurier parties – in peace.
The freshmen before you had to come to terms with the fact that university — and life — doesn’t always go as planned slowly, over the course of their own journey. You are entering first year with that bandaid already ripped off.
You may be entering your first year in challenging times, but you will graduate stronger, more adaptable, and more creative as a result. Welcome to Waterloo!
Editor-in-Chief, Fall 2020