It’s great to see all of you here and such a high energy level in this room!
And aren’t you a good looking group!
Some students in the audience are quite familiar with Texas State because people in their families have gone to school here before them:
Jessica Bassett is joining her brother John here.
Katherine Forrest had her brother Ryan smoothing the way for her.
Heather Baker is the third Baker sister to enroll at Texas State; Heather’s mom and dad met while they were students here in the 1970s.
Jessica Havlik’s mom and dad and two brothers are all graduates.
Melissa Castillo is coming to Texas State, just like her mom, dad, two aunts and her sister.
Ryan Collins is now living in Brogdon Hall, in the very same room his mother lived in when she was a student here in the 1970s. And Ryan’s sister Rebecca is a PAL for Paws Preview.
But some of you are the college pioneers in your families. Maira Garcia of Cuero, Brittney Owens from Sweetwater, John Garza from Kyle, Whitney Green from Washington are the trailblazers in their families, the first to try college, and we’re glad they chose to blaze those trails at Texas State.
As the president of the university, I have this opportunity to share with you some advice on how to succeed here at Texas State. I’ve distilled this advice to five pieces:
The first is open yourself to new ideas, new people, new good experiences You are stepping into an increasingly global and diverse society. I hope you find this diversity as exciting as I do. We are so physically and technologically mobile that political boundary lines mean less now than at any other time in our history. We can communicate with people all over the world. We can find almost any known piece of information if we are adept at traveling cyberspace.
Our population is increasingly diverse and benefits from this diversity. Texans seem to know this benefit, I think, and accept it as part of what Texas is, the natural blend of Hispanic, African American, European, Asian. But the blend is anything but natural. And it often takes effort to make it work. Opening the daily newspaper or turning on the evening news is all we have to do to remind ourselves of the effort it takes to make it work.
You are entering a time in your lives that will be full of new ideas, new people and new experiences. They will change you in wonderful ways. Consider the new ideas and weigh them for yourselves. Meet the new people and explore their cultures and values and viewpoints. But about those new experiences: Some of them you will be invited to take part in will be good and some bad. Mom and Dad won’t be there to tell you which is which, but we know that you know. Be careful out there.
The second piece of advice is to get involved. Some of those new experiences are waiting for you in intramural teams or social clubs. Join a student organization connected to your major. Perform with the Gospel Expression or another choir. (Some of you are already members of the Bobcat Band and the Strutters.) Get out the vote with the Young Democrats or Young Republicans or run for office yourselves as an Associated Student Government senator. Write for the University Star. Look into one of the religious organizations on campus. Exercise with a group at the Student Recreation Center. And you certainly won’t want to miss the first football game on September 4th at 6 p.m. We have 300 student organizations, so I know you can find one or two with interests like yours. All of that said—remember not to over-extend yourself; you need time to study, too!
Third on the advice list is to write or phone or e-mail your parents. They really will appreciate it. Remember that they haven’t had such a tough transition since you entered kindergarten. Lots of you have cell phones; use them to call Mom and Dad.
My fourth piece of advice is to remember that hard work pays off. You already know that. You’ve already worked hard at studying and maybe working part time. But college will be different. You’ll have to manage your time by yourself and keep up with your classwork. The good news is that there are people here to help you do those things; to help you get a part-time job or to tutor you in your classes or to help you manage your time. The Counseling Center, Career Services, the Student Learning Assistance Center, the faculty teaching your classes—those are just some of the people willing and eager to help you. But they won’t know you need help unless you tell them, so don’t be reluctant to do that. Hard work pays off in other things in life, too, not only studying. Relationships, like a good marriage or a good friendship, are hard work. Parenting is hard work, isn’t it, parents? Physical fitness, that’s hard work. But there is much joy in hard work, and I hope you find it.
And the last piece of advice: Start thinking about your future, but don’t let it keep you from enjoying the present. Tube the river — that’s a must for every Texas State student. The river is a wonderful place to relax. Go for a Full-Moon Float Ñ find out from the Student Recreation Center when the next one is scheduled. Go to a concert or a volleyball game or soccer match. Go for a walk around this beautiful campus. Shop at the outlet malls.
So here’s a summary of my advice: Be open to new ideas, new friends and new experiences; get involved; stay in touch with your parents; work hard; and enjoy yourselves.
These are important and exciting years ahead of you. We are delighted that you have decided to spend them with us.
Good luck and welcome to Texas State!