Editorial: An open letter to the class of 2020

To each member of the future class of 2020 at the University,

Tomorrow, you will open up your admissions decision. Regardless if the University is your dream school or your back-up, your life will change forever when you choose to come to this school.

You’ve probably heard a lot about the University in recent news stories, and a lot of it has not been pretty.

That’s all true, and there are obstacles to consider when picking the University. Without the state budget being resolved by the Illinois government, choosing to go to an in-state public school is a gamble. Although tuition is not being raised for your class, the future of MAP grants and other financial aid hangs in the balance.

But the worst of what you’ve heard about the issues with University administration should not overpower the good this University can do, and the good you can do for it.

Despite the issues that keep our school in the news, there are still professors that care deeply about their students and their success. When you get here, you will take their classes.

And despite the intense competition among students, there are still great friends to be made here. Step out of your comfort zone and get to know people who are different than you. They’ll teach you more than you know. 

As you go through college, you will learn that you will need to have someone who’s there for you, and you’ll have to be there for someone else. Choose those people wisely.

Take advantage of the benefits of going to a large research university. Participate in research that interests you, join some RSOs, and go to concerts and lectures. Don’t waste opportunities because you’re nervous about meeting new people or putting yourself out there.

There is a lot to gain from attending the University, but there is also a lot students should give back. College is a transitional period between adolescence and adulthood, and one of its many purposes is to encourage students to be civil-minded adults who effort to make the world a better place.

Create works that will inspire people. Express yourself in a way that opens other people’s minds.

Above all, take the resources you have and make something out of them. Educate people about the causes that drive you and the issues that affect you. Create things that will make the world more sustainable, healthier and more accessible.

The University has had some bad press, but you have the power to take the good we have here and make it into something even better.

Good luck, and we’re happy to have you.