Dear HEAR Class of 2021,
Congratulations, welcome to the family, you made it, and all that jazz.  I’m not going to bother with the empty praise because I know you’ve heard it all before.  You don’t need to be reminded that you’re intelligent and deserving individuals.  What I want to do is to pass on a few tidbits of advice from a wise fool.
Number one:  Study.  Oh dear God, please study.  If you’re at all like me, and the fact that you’re HEAR scholars leads me to believe that you’re quite a lot like me, you’ve probably been able to coast through high school with little to no study time.  College is a whole lot different.  I thought it wasn’t until I got a C in macroeconomics last quarter; it was a slap in the face that I very much needed.
Number two:  It’s okay to not drink.  It’s okay to hate parties.  No one will judge you, and you will not become a social leper.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is simply wrong.
Number three:  Learn how to say “no.”  It’s fine to take a break from things, even things you love.  Sometimes the healthiest thing is to just lay back for a while, rest, and enjoy hanging out with people.  Because you will get busy, and fast.
Number four:  You’re not dumb for needing a tutor, nor does B stand for Bad.  Classes are harder now; that’s a fact.  If you’re struggling, as for help.  Go to office hours.  Ask your TA.  And because classes are harder, you may not get straight A’s every quarter, and that’s alright.
Number five:  HEAR is a line in to a lot of very useful connections.  Never be afraid to ask anyone on the board for help with internships, work, or anything else.  They want nothing more than to see you succeed, and everyone on the board is good people.  Period, full stop, nothing more to be said.
You will struggle in your first year.  You’ll think about giving a lot of things up, and you will let go of some of them, but you’ll come out of it stronger, smarter, and ready for the next year.  Fight the good fight, and don’t go against who you are, but be willing to change.
Sam van Loon,
Northwestern University
Class of 2019