Professors, faculty, staff and upperclassmen, welcome back! To incoming freshmen, welcome to Drexel, welcome to Philadelphia, and welcome to the next five (or four) years of your life.
It takes a special kind of person to choose Drexel. This year’s freshman class joins thousands of other students who have chosen to attend a completely atypical college. The fact that we all chose to give up our summer vacations, to start our professional lives early, and to spend our college years on what’s been ranked the nation’s ugliest campus says something. We value different things than many students our age, and that brought us all to Drexel.
All of us here, not just the students, are forward thinkers. We understand that a full-time job offer upon graduation might be worth more than three summers working part-time jobs. Professors teach you to build your resume from your first week of class as a freshman, encouraging you to consider your adult life way before most of us have to act like full adults. Researchers are working on groundbreaking projects. President Fry has plans sketched out for far beyond 2017. We often have the opportunity to voice our opinions (Fry has open office hours, and there are always surveys bouncing around looking for feedback), so each student has the chance to change things for the better.
Our bricks may be orange, and we may not have a football team, but being a Drexel student is something that should make you proud. Our peers and professors are doing incredible research and are engaged with the community of West Philadelphia. And despite the fact that it seems like the logistics of financial aid and registration often get us “shafted,” I believe that the administrators and University officials have the students’ best interests at heart and are constantly trying to make Drexel a better place to study and work.
We’re at Drexel at an awesome time. Now that we’ve survived the bulk of the construction for Gerri LeBow Hall and Chestnut Square, some of us will get to take advantage of its luxury apartments, and we’ll all enjoy the new restaurants opening there. And we get to see the rest of campus continue to grow and improve as Fry leads us down the path of his master plan — look out for a hotel that’s in the works at 33rd and Chestnut and more apartments going up at 34th and Lancaster. And those are just the physical changes happening on campus — we are recognized as an up-and-coming university by U.S. News and World Report and have partnerships and collaborations with institutions worldwide. The more you learn about this school, the easier it is to value your time here.
To the freshmen, I’m so happy you’re here. You bring with you an energy and excitement that reminds older students of how fun it was to be a freshman. As you begin your time here, remember that everyone is nervous. Everyone. Give yourself time to adjust, but also push yourself to try new things and talk to interesting people. Get involved; you will get out of this what you put into it (annoying cliches that will serve you well). Your time in college is only partly about going to class and learning the curriculum, so don’t limit yourself to classroom learning. This city and your peers will teach you a lot.
At The Triangle, we’ll do our best to keep you informed of the changes happening at Drexel that aren’t as obvious as the demolition of the Hess labs. We’ll make sure you’re up to date on the bad stuff too. Exciting things are happening here, and we want everyone to know.
Sandra Petri is the Editor-in-Chief of The Triangle. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.