We academic-types are always looking for words of wisdom to pass along to incoming freshmen. The perfect advice, it seems to me at least, would prepare our newest students to take advantage of the incredible range of opportunities that will come their way in the next four years. Navigating my Facebook feed the other day, I ran across a terrific post by Honors College alumna Amelia Steadman McGowan, Class of 2006, that offered just the message I’d want freshmen to hear.
Can’t believe it was ten years ago that I moved into Mississippi Hall at The University of Southern Mississippi for four of the best years of my life. I remember well-intentioned people in high school telling me “I could do so much better,” but for me, I couldn’t have chosen a better place. Because of USM, I learned to think and read critically; attained Spanish fluency and a basic knowledge of Mandarin; studied all over Vietnam; wrote a 70-page thesis on a topic I loved; made close friends from over 30 countries; learned to dance bhangra, salsa, and merengue; gained a deep understanding for and appreciation of Latin American history; learned to sing J-Pop and K-Pop; joined an interleague bowling team (Go Team Asia!); enjoyed performances by Itzhak Perelman, Joshua Bell, and Yo-Yo Ma; celebrated Navratri and Diwali with the Indian Students’ Association; learned basic karate; competed at a regional College Bowl tournament; and really became the “adult” I am today. I am forever grateful to my alma mater and to my family, friends, and professors who made it all possible. So to all of you new Eagles, be proud of your new school, and live these four years to the very fullest. Take advantage of all USM has to offer, and if I can help you in any way, let me know. You’re going to have a blast!