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What Will You Be?

Erica Graff

Today, I provide you with part 3 of the series inspired by Nathan. I suppose I should start in the same way as the other two. Congratulations to the admitted students of the Class of 2017. You guys are so talented and amazing. I am sure that you have heard this millions of times, but I would have NEVER gotten in if I had applied this year. I hope that you choose to attend Vanderbilt. I absolutely could not imagine myself anywhere else. And so now I ask you, what will you be?

Me and my dogs on the morning I left for college.

You will be challenged. My first semester at Vanderbilt, I was predominantly challenged academically. I was not ready for the rigor of science classes at the university level, and I struggled to balance my time between finding my niche on campus and doing well in my classes. But, in my time here, I have been challenged in so many other ways. My friends come from all parts of the country, they are of different religions, socioeconomic classes and majors. My professors challenge me intellectually, but my friends and peers challenge me religiously. I know that I have become a stronger, more confident student as my beliefs have changed and cemented.

You will be safe. This is definitely big one for parents. I have never felt threatened on or off campus. I probably shouldn’t advertise this, but I often leave my computer on a table in baseball glove lounge for hours while I take a break to eat or run. I also take advantage of the Campus Security escorts to walk (or drive) me back from the library late at night. I try my best to take advantage of these resources on campus because I know how lucky we are to have them.

You will be social. I don’t just mean that you will go to parties. I more mean that you will be constantly surrounded by friends. Ryan calls this united. This is such a huge part of Vanderbilt, so I felt that it needed a synonym. The Commons experience is so unique and builds such an amazing community among the class. I am hardly ever alone here, and that is a great thing. There is always someone ready to eat or study or run or hang out.

You will be balanced. This is my personal favorite part of Vanderbilt. Here, we pride ourselves on doing well, not in comparison to others, but in order to become our best selves. The competitive atmosphere is largely absent, and we always make time for fun. Regardless of your passion, Vanderbilt has the outlets through which you can exercise it. We know that it is just as important to have fun and do what you love as it is to do well in school.

You will be changed. This one is obvious, and not only because both Ryan and Nathan mentioned it. I could go on for days telling you about how Vanderbilt has changed me for the better. For one thing, before Vanderbilt, I couldn’t run a mile, let alone a half marathon. I had also never taken a speech class, and now I am a Communication Studies major. I always considered myself a football fan, too, but in my three years here, I know almost as much about college hoops as my dad, (okay, maybe not quite, but I am learning!).

Who knew that I could run a half marathon?

I owe Vanderbilt for all of these amazing things. Sure, your experiences will be a little different, and at the end of the day, only you can decide what you will be.

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