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Vernie Aguda

Dear First Year Me,

There are so many things I wish I could tell you. University can be a big and scary place, but never in your life will you have the opportunity to experience more things than you can right now. These next four years of your life will change you in ways you never wanted, nor expected- and by the end of it you could still be just as confused and scared as when you started. But the growth that you may not realize has happened will be worth all the sleepless nights, river of tears, belly laughs, and exams that accompany it.

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I hope you step out of your shell long enough to realize that the outside world is a mess, and that no amount of planning will prepare you for the experiences university will present to you. Sometimes you’ll hate it, sometimes you won’t- but the key is to do everything you can, now. Try something new every day, take a course that has nothing to do with what you want to be, learn a new language, try a class, play sports, engage in your community. This gigantic mess has gems worth finding, but only if you put in the effort to find them.

I hope you realize that not everything will go your way. You’ll have days where you won’t get anything done, where you fail, where you get rejected. It will be hard. You will cry, and you will feel like giving up- but the key is to sleep, and know that nothing lasts forever. Failure is one step closer to success, and the times you fall in university will hurt, but they will also teach you more than you have ever known. So fail, fall, and falter- just remember that everything will pass.

I hope you learn to take advantage of the amenities available to you. There are so many opportunities behind doors, and all they require is for you to knock on them. Seek them out, go to seminars, go to free events, talk to your professors and TAs and registrar. There are people here who want you to succeed, and there are resources here that will improve your university career. You can either be a number in the school system, or you can take the reigns of your university life and flourish.

The next four years is going to be an adventure. Don’t take things too seriously. Ask him out. Be bold. Stay up late. Study really hard. Cherish everything because before you know it, you’ll be receiving your diploma and waving university good-bye.

Take a deep breath. Be open to new things. And smile.

Love,

Me

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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