If you were ever told that high school would hold the best years of your life, you were lied to. Attending Texas State will not be the pinnacle of your existence either, but this is where it all begins. In the next few years, you will grow immensely as an individual; this is where you find the ways in which you will go forth and change the world.

Incoming Bobcats have a lot to learn, but knowledge is not only to be found in textbooks or the confines of lecture halls. You will learn what it is like to live with people who are not your family, and maybe not even your friends; what it is like to have to set your own schedule every day and find balance between school, work, extracurricular activities and your social life; you will find yourself interacting with a lot of people who think nothing like you do, and in turn learn something about yourself; the traditions of this university will become yours, and hopefully at some point you will learn that you love to call San Marcos home.

It is important to remember that your GPA is not everything. When asked why you came to college the answer appears to be obvious: you came here to obtain a degree—but what for? I would like to think that most of us came to college to find ways in which we can shape the world for the better. In our current political and social climate, it is necessary that we do everything possible not only to become specialized in a field that can truly help people, but to also take this time to understand the individuals around us.

The biggest tip that I could give to new students is to not only get involved on campus but to immerse yourself in what is the beautiful and bizarre San Marcos community. From concerts at one of the town’s many venues to house shows or block parties, to comedy showcases or open mic nights, floating the river or finding networks of activists that care about the same issues you do—San Marcos has something for everyone and all of it is guaranteed to enrich your life tremendously.

No matter who you are now, you will not leave this university the same person. Our ever-growing college town will certainly be the backdrop to some of the most memorable scenes of your life, and as you shape San Marcos it is bound to shape who you are, too.

Do your best, and do not sweat the small stuff. Learn what you can in and out of academia, about yourself and about what it means to live. Everything you experience here can be used to make this world a little brighter, and in the words of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the noblest search is the search for excellence.

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