Dear 2017: Develop. Discover.

mhagandefaultMichael Hagan ’15

Dear Freshmen,

Congratulations, and welcome to Providence College! I hope this letter finds you both eager to launch into the studies your professors have begun to guide you through this semester and excited for time with new friends and possibly a good round of “golf” this weekend. I do not presume to know what the months leading up to this first semester as a Friar have been like for you. I don’t know how high or low your expectations were, and whether or not you feel like they have been met thus far at PC. More importantly, I recognize that regardless of what you tell your peers and parents, your genuine expectations and feelings towards your experience are matters you’re probably still trying to assess yourself. Uncertainty is to be expected; self-perceived clarity at this stage would only stand as an obstacle to discoveries yet to be made.

Realize that Providence College is an exceptional environment for personal development. You now live on top of resources for growth in mind, body, and spirit. Adopt healthy habits and practices. Do your work during the day, by sunlight when possible (fluorescent light bulbs wear on you after a while). For God’s sake, sleep at night! Your body and your roommates will appreciate it. Of course, if a friend wants to watch a movie or talk over Wings Over Providence and a few drinks late one night, your internal clock will readjust. Develop good habits so that the occasional lapse will be a well-deserved break. Eat healthily, and make time for fitness. College requires a high energy level, and you’ll burn out if you don’t build and maintain physical and mental stamina. But don’t take Nick Wallace’s words too closely to heart: Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs in Ray are good for your soul.

Find quiet time. You probably won’t find it in your dorm. When you get a chance or need pause, stop by the chapel for one of three daily Masses. These can often be the best twenty minutes of your day. But don’t feel obligated to laugh at all of Fr. Cuddy’s jokes. Somebody’s got to keep him humble.

If you carry baggage with you that in anyway obstructs the process of becoming who you are called to be, or if the future (be it near or distant) feels like too much to navigate without guidance, understand that the Personal Counseling Center on lower campus is the most underutilized resource at Providence College. Counseling services are available to every PC student for no additional charge and with assurance of confidentiality because there are times and circumstances in which it’s just too damned difficult (not to mention unhealthy) to go it alone.

Choose courses and majors/minors based on what you love. I may eat these words one day while crying over my history/English/theology degree, but I have yet to take a major/minor course I didn’t find both enriching and enjoyable. And I’m entirely confident that I’ll have fulfilling and lucrative career options after college. Don’t let those folks at the Wall Street Journal or wherever the hell else scare you into declaring a degree your heart isn’t invested in. And know that common interest in course material goes a long way in building relationships with professors.

The cliché holds true: this experience is what you make of it. You have access to abundant resources and opportunities here at Providence College. Now more than ever, it is upon you to initiate personal growth and intellectual development. But I promise you that taking that initiative will be well worthwhile. Have an enriching, fulfilling, and safe freshman year. I’m glad that you are a Friar.

Peace and best wishes,



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