To the Class of 2025:
Welcome to the University of Chicago!
By now, you’ve been told many times that you are exceptional. You’re a world-class group who made it through a confounding application process, among the first teenagers to experience the horrors of high school over laptop screens during a pandemic and various other world-historic events.
But we’re here to say it again. We are so proud to welcome you to this strange, thrilling, challenging, school, and excited to see the impact you will have.
The Maroon is UChicago’s independent, student-led newspaper, and we’ve delivered campus news and commentary to the UChicago and South Side communities for nearly 130 years. With this year’s Orientation Issue, we hope to provide some resources for getting settled in Hyde Park and on campus. Inside, you’ll find a crash course in UChicago’s most contentious debates, a guide to campus art and culture, and advice for making friends and surviving tough courses.
We also wanted to give you some advice we wish we’d received as incoming first-years.
First, we know how overwhelming academics can be during that first quarter. But remember: The people you meet here are as important as the classes you’ll take, and after over a year of remote school, everyone is eager to make new connections. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to the person in your HUM section who made a comment that really stayed with you or email a professor you’d love to work for. Most importantly, make sure to take some time away from the Iliad and go to a party or two. Homer can wait—we promise.
Second, take some time to explore the UChicago community. Whether you’re looking to build a professional network, find brotherhood or sisterhood, or just play Smash, UChicago has something for everyone. Though we’re biased, we’d also suggest checking out The Maroon, we’ve got something for everyone: budding reporters, writers looking to get their thoughts published, computer programmers, and business-people-to-be who want experience balancing an actual budget. There are a million microcosms and subcultures on campus, and it’s okay if you don’t find yours immediately - keep looking, and keep your mind open to activities and groups you might not have been drawn to in high school.
Thirdly, at The Maroon, we believe that holding the University accountable for its decisions is a crucial part of school spirit. Across campus, student writers, activists, and elected leaders work to make UChicago a better place. All this is to say: If you love every part of UChicago, that’s great. But if there are parts of campus life that frustrate you, know that you are not alone. Don’t let anyone characterize your desire to change something about UChicago as ingratitude or naïveté. There are many ways to make change on campus, whether it’s by writing for a publication like The Maroon, working with advocacy organizations like the Phoenix Survivors Alliance or UChicago United, or representing your peers on Student Government.
Finally, imposter syndrome gets the best of all of us sometimes. You are far from home and learning alongside peers who may seem intimidatingly impressive. Remember that you belong here. An admissions officer at UChicago stood up in front of their colleagues and successfully presented their case for why you—yes, you—should be a Maroon. The first year of college can be tumultuous, full of highs and lows, but through it all, keep in mind that you are wanted and welcome here. If nothing else, remember that being able to fool people into thinking you’re more competent than you actually are is itself an important talent!
We’ve already enjoyed seeing many of you weigh in on the topic of the week on UChicago Twitter, contribute to the chaotic world of UChicago Poll Party, and (unfortunately) discover UChicago Secrets. As the quarter gets underway, we can’t wait for you to join our community on campus: to meet you in lecture halls, over coffee at Harper Cafe, and perhaps even at a Maroon hustling session.
See you on the quad,
Matthew Lee, Ruby Rorty, and Adyant Kanakamedala