Dear New Bulldogs,
Welcome to Mississippi State University! I am incredibly excited for you all to join the Bulldog family and make Starkville your home for, hopefully, the next four years. This upcoming year will be one of the most unique years of your life and during it you will learn more about yourself and the world than you ever have before. College is your time to grow, learn and make decisions, and when making life decisions, it is always best to have some advice.
Once you move in and your parents leave, you suddenly have free rein over all the things you do. When you get to decide where you spend your time, who you spend it with and what you spend your time doing, you start to learn a lot about yourself. But that freedom comes with responsibilities you did not previously have: going to class, doing homework, keeping up with friends, the endless battle that is laundry, having to feed yourself and the worst part is you do not have anybody reminding you to do it all. Many people can get caught up in the grind and focus on just making it from one week to the next, which causes them to miss out on so much that Mississippi State has to offer. That is why the single best piece of advice that I have can be summed up in two words—be intentional. Whatever it is that you are doing, do it on purpose. Make the decision to invest in your friends, your education, your clubs and your teachers.
Being intentional can be as simple as asking yourself a few questions. Why are you choosing that major, club or friend group? What do you want to get out of college? Where do you enjoy spending your time most? These are tough questions, but the great thing is that here you have endless opportunities to try and find an answer. Not only do you have plenty of time to figure these things out, but you also have more options to choose from than ever before. So, do not waste that chance sitting in your dorm. Somewhere on this campus there is a community ideally suited for each of you, but you must be willing to go out and find it.
An important part of being able to find anything is first knowing where you are. MSU and Starkville are officially your home now, take some time to learn where everything is. You will quickly find out that you did not bring everything you needed, so you will probably be driving around the first week anyway. At first it will be a lot of to learn, but by week three you will already be on your way to knowing your way around like the back of your hand.
Outside of just getting around and knowing where to eat, there are all kinds of free services that you get from MSU for being a student. From tutoring (in Allen Hall), to seeing a doctor (at the Longest Student Health Center), to getting startup funding (from the E-center), to professional help (in the Career Center), to a mental checkup (in Student Counseling Services), the people here want to help you succeed and if you ask for help, you will get it from somewhere.
All-in-all, Mississippi State University is a wonderful place and by the time you are leaving it will hold a special place in your heart. If any of you ever have questions, comments, or just want somebody to talk to, I am always available (the SA office is on the third floor of the Union). Take it from a fifth year, your time here will fly by faster than you ever thought, so take advantage of your opportunities, shoot your shots, make new friends, and maybe even try and learn a thing or two while you are at it.
In Maroon and White,