Allow me to start by saying I am sorry. I have no idea what you’re going through right now as a 2020 grad. We all thought that our class was going to get the worst of it in seeing our senior year come to such an abrupt end. At that time, we all thought that by Fall, everything would be normal again. 

Those naïve days. 

I’ve realized something, though. Everyone seems to be telling you how different this year is going to be, how sorry they are and listing all of the things you’re going to miss out on. Yet, no one is actually telling you what is going to be the same, what you can look forward to, and how much you’re going to experience.

Such as the advice that I got as a frosh all those years ago, these next 3-5 years are going to be what you make of it.

So dear froshie, this a letter from me to you. A 5th year veteran to a first-year rookie. Believe me, I know it may not seem like it at the moment, but you’re in the good place, and you have so much to look forward to. 

I can remember my first day of classes at Queen’s like it was yesterday. Going down to Lazy to get a chocolate chip muffin and a French vanilla as a first day breakfast treat (that turned into my daily breakfast), Snapchatting my friends from home that I was on my way to my first University lecture, getting to said lecture in my hoodie and leggings and realizing people actually tried to look nice, and of course, blasting “Closer” by the Chainsmokers ft. Halsey throughout the whole day. 

Yes, this year at Queen’s will be unlike anything we have ever seen before. However, no matter what your first day as a Queen’s student looks like, you’ll never forget it. You’ll have those same butterflies in your stomach, the same realization that you’re officially a University student, and the same excitement for all that lies ahead. 

What won’t change is the fact that you’ll get to meet so many amazing new people and create everlasting friendships that will be the anchor of your success throughout your time here at Queen’s. Talk to your orientation leaders, and most importantly, get to know people in your orientation group and/or on your floor, they could become your best friends (I’m currently living with the first person I met from my Frosh group in 2016)!  

What won’t change is that your professors will undeniably try and make current “hip” jokes that fall flat, have many technical difficulties, yet amaze you with their extensive knowledge and inspiring lectures. 

Most importantly, what won’t change is that you’ll be open to endless opportunities that are going to help you grow into the best version of yourself, and the person you are supposed to become. 

If you have chosen to reside in Kingston throughout the year, whether it be in residence or off-campus, you’ll notice that the tricolour spirit still thrives through the veins of the student district, even though it may be at a social distance. 

While all the upper years before you have returned to school every year with nothing to look forward to except for harder classes, you will return every year with more and more ‘firsts’ that are waiting for you to experience…

Your first hungover experience at the dining hall with unlimited pizza, your first Lazy 4-piece with curly fries, your first Top Secret bagel from CoGro, and most importantly: your first time standing in the Tim’s ARC line.

It may not be this year, but one day you’ll experience the energy of campus during Orientation week, and all of the purple body paint that will stain every building on campus. You’ll all flood the lecture halls eager to learn, some keeping engaged and asking a multitude of questions, other checking out five minutes into class and doing Buzzfeed quizzes for the remainder. You’ll all take over Aberdeen Street in your most decked out tricolour to celebrate the spirit of Queen’s with Gaels of the past and present.

Lastly, you’ll spend an all-nighter in Stauff during exam season with 18 bags of espresso bean chocolates from Grocery Checkout, cursing the day you decided you wanted to get an education. 

It may not be this year, but one day you will stand in a crowd of thousands of students in the blistering cold waiting hours to get into Stages just so you can knock back a few bar rails, dance to “Low” on the risers (because that song will never get old), talk to a few strangers, and regret everything the next morning when you arrive to your Friday 8:30am still smelling like tequila.

It may not be this year, but one day you’ll feel campus explode in pride as one, or multiple, of our varsity teams, take home OUA Championships on home turf. 

It may not be this year, but one day you’ll put countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears into final projects and papers and assignments, feeling the most pride you have ever felt for yourself, and when all is said and done, you’ll look back and think of how much you’ve overcome.  

Class of 2024, I wish you the best of luck as you begin this incredible journey. When the world finds our footing once more, drinks are on the alumni.


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