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Letters to Freshmen: From the Man That Knows Us Best

October 1, 2010

Adam Miller
Letters to Freshmen: From the Man That Knows Us Best

This final letter of advice comes from Adam Miller, our Associate Dean of the Admissions Office. As a former Stag (class of 2003) Dean Miller offers a unique perspective. Between his personal experiences as past student and his current role in shaping CMC's student body, it is safe to say that Dean Miller knows what's up with our school.

Dear CMC Freshmen:

For most of you, choosing a college represented the biggest decision of your life. Take heart – you chose very well! Now the challenge is to make the most of your time at CMC. Here’s my advice:

Stay humble. You got into CMC, so you’re pretty great. Congratulations! Now get over yourself. If you don’t want getting into CMC to be the highlight of your life, you’ve got work to do. Speaking of humility: Everyone is wrong about something. What’s tricky is that you don’t yet know what you’re wrong about. When you find yourself in a heated argument, have fun with it and state your case, but remember that you might just learn something from the other person.

Four years is a long time…that will go by very quickly. In the words of the great John Wooden, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” The ambitious side of you wants to start accomplishing things today. But before you worry about résumé-building, give yourself some time to settle in and figure out what you really want out of college. At the same time, remember that you have a finite amount of time at CMC, so use it well. Set goals every semester so you can stay focused on your priorities. Invest your time in people who inspire you and whom you admire – they are CMC’s greatest, and longest-lasting, resource. Most of all, be thankful for this opportunity and remember how fortunate you are to be here.

Work hard, play hard. More importantly, define those terms yourself. Working hard doesn’t have to mean four years of sleep-deprivation. Playing hard doesn’t have to involve massive quantities of cheap beer. And don’t worry, however you choose to work and play at CMC, you won’t be alone.

Don't be intimidated by professors. CMC professors want to interact with students – that’s why they teach at CMC. Find opportunities to interact with them. It’s really not hard to find those opportunities at CMC and, honestly, I’m not sure CMC is worth the cost if you don’t take advantage of the access you have to professors.

Ask for help. CMC’s faculty, staff, and administration care about you and want you to succeed. CMCers are the happiest college students in the country, but even the happiest of us go through tough times. Don’t isolate yourself when you need help. Related: As great as CMC is, all CMCers can think of something they would change about our college. You are fortunate to be at a school that is remarkably responsive to student concerns, so if you think something at CMC could be better, make your voice heard.

Go to the Ath. As much as you can.

Appreciate CMC’s amazing staff. Your character has a lot to do with how you treat those who serve you. Learn the names of your building attendants. Smile when you get your food in Collins. Pick up after parties – nobody should have to clean up your mess. If you can’t be decent to the people you interact with every day, you just might fail at life.

Don’t sell your soul for anything… …especially not a keg and an internship. (Though it does make for a catchy t-shirt). Seriously, though. College is perhaps the best time to wrestle with questions about identity, purpose, and value, about who you are, who you want to be, and what you believe. Your answers to those questions won’t do much for your résumé, but they can nurture your soul, provide peace of mind, and give you a sense of direction in life.

You were admitted for a reason. No matter how confident CMCers are, most of us at some point wonder whether we have what it takes to succeed at CMC. You will experience failure here. You will feel overwhelmed. You will look at the successes of your peers and feel like you are falling behind. And you may start to question whether you really deserved to be admitted when so many outstanding applicants got a thin envelope from CMC. Well, on behalf of the Admission Office, let me say this: We admitted you for a reason. You belong at CMC. Don’t ever forget that.

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