Letter to First-Year Me: “Dear First-Year Karen…” (Seaver ’12)

I asked a few alumni to write a letter to themselves as an incoming first-year student. We’ll head into the first week of Seaver classes with wisdom from Karen, to Karen.

Dear First Year Pepperdine Waves Karen,

Guess what? In four years, you’re going to be in a great graduate school after graduating magna cum laude (which means a GPA of 3.7 or higher)! So stop hurrying off to do homework after dinner, and go play some guitar hero! Because screaming “I believe in a thing called love, justlistentotherhythmofmyheart” is not going to ruin your future.

Go ahead and apply for International Programs, just to keep your options open, and because it’s the exciting life-changing thing to do. Just know that it can be just as exciting and life-changing if you stay in Malibu. You can make exciting friends and have meaningful mentors as a part of Housing and Residence Life, put a moon bounce at the top of the Center of Communications and Business as a radio station manager and set yourself up to graduate in three and half years… after changing majors.

Yes, the freshman 15 is real, but no one is going to notice except your mom, because moms notice everything, even over video chat. So go easy on the Cheez-Its and Pop-Tarts, but I understand, Ralph’s runs are super fun and sometimes you just need an excuse to get off campus, even if you have a meal plan.

You’re going to think that you can’t handle some things: waiting for financial aid, being far from home, a new job, the honors program in psychology. If your definition of “handle,” means go through without the help of your friends, family, Pepperdine staff and faculty, or the catharsis of tears, or the soothing taste of ice cream, then you’re absolutely right. You can’t handle it.

But if your definition of “handle” means overcome and learn from, holding onto hope and striving to become the person you think you should be, then you can be darn sure you can handle it.

So do different things. Different from what you’ve done before, from what other people are doing, from what you know will turn out perfectly.

Because nothing is guaranteed to be perfect, and neither are you.

Eat balanced meals, get some sleep (staying up ‘til 5a on a weekend in your first year? come on.) and take advantage of free counseling. It ain’t free in the real world.

Oh and newsflash? It is NOT embarrassing to pray in public. Don’t wait to let a Texan teach you that one.


First Year WashU Bears Karen


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