To the Shippensburg Community,
For those returning, I wish you a warm welcome back to our beloved campus and for another great year. For the Class of 2023, allow me to be yet another member of your SHIP family to say congratulations to both your acceptance and for your courage in embarking on a new journey in life.
Whether a person is a first-year student or an incoming senior, we all have made the transition from high school to college in some way. We decided that in order to better ourselves in the long run, we were required to forgo an adventure not many on this planet can do; if the world were one hundred people, only seven individuals would have a college degree. I share this statistic from the 100 People Foundation—pro tip: always cite your work—to remind you that, while the culture in the U.S is “everyone goes to college”, not everyone in the world has the same opportunity.
In that mindset of understanding where we sit on the world stage as we fight to join the seven people with a degree, I wish to share with you the advice I needed to hear during my first semester attending SHIP. First, know that you are so, incredibly smart. Too many people either do not realize this fast enough or hide their intellect because our society determines it is “not cool” to be nerd. But we all have a niche in which thrive in academically; I found my passion for political science early on, and I hope you not only do the same but are proud of it and share it with the world.
Second, there will be days when you do not want to be here, and they will be the worst of your experience. The days will come when you feel as if you are alone and the only one struggling, and it is in those moments you must remember that you are not: we all are going through this together. Every one of us have those days, but I encourage you to reach out to your support system and the staff of this institution to assist you. Our Student Government is but one of many outlets you have on campus that is here to promote your well-being.
Finally, in the words of a former SU student, be the role model you needed. When you are out-and-about with friends and a decision appears before you, make the decision you know is right. Because it is one thing to get a degree at Shippensburg University, but it is another thing to earn a degree. Study hard, sleep well, have fun, and know when you need to prioritize your academics over your social life in order to do right by yourself and ensure your success for the future.
I live on-campus, and so if you see me around do not hesitate to say hello!
Aven O. Bittinger