Grace Meikle | January 31, 2017
Editor’s note: Published in June 2016, A Letter to My Freshman Self is an anthology of 65 personal letters that Notre Dame alumni spanning 60 graduating years up to the Class of 2016 addressed to themselves as freshmen. Edited by Lily Kang ’16 and Ian Tembe ’17, the letters reflect on often complex undergraduate experiences and offer wisdom to help undergraduates make the most of these transformative years of their lives.
Dear Freshwoman Grace,
Let me introduce myself: I was the first person in my family to go to Notre Dame. I majored in physics, Notre Dame class of ’14. I worked in Professor Kamat’s lab researching solar cells during the school year and I did three international research internships in India, Japan, and China during my undergraduate summers. I also completed a second major in Chinese. Since graduating I’ve been working on rigs in the oil sands in Alberta, Canada. I am an alumna of Breen-Phillips Hall.
You are about to begin a big adventure. Here is some advice I’d give to you if I could go back to my freshman year at Notre Dame:
Take advantage of being a student. When you’re a student, everyone wants to help you and assumes your intentions are innocent. You can literally cold call (or email) a company, say you’re working on a class project, ask them questions about what they do — and nine times out of ten, they will help you. Good luck trying that after you’ve graduated! I did exactly that for a project in my Entrepreneurship class. I connected with an employee at the company who told his boss about my project. The company later ended up offering me a job. Who knew?!
Don’t take your romantic relationships too seriously. As a freshman I spent a lot of time being distracted by my relationships. I even pictured myself getting married in a couple of years. In retrospect, I was holding myself back. That’s not to say you shouldn’t date. But as a Notre Dame student, you have a huge opportunity to better YOURSELF. Trust me, 18-22 is way too young to settle down, mentally or otherwise. You will (and should) change during college and even more so after graduating! If there really is that special someone in your life . . . well, for the time being, it’s more valuable to keep that person as a trusted friend than an estranged ex.