A letter from the Student Body President – Ally Swartzberg


Ally Swartzberg

Dear Members of the Class of 2025,

Welcome home! And I really do mean home. It is my sincerest hope for each of you that campus will begin to feel like your safe place and that these people — your classmates, mentors, friends and professors — will come to be a second family.

Three years ago, on the evening before I moved into Johnson Hall,  I stood outside Foothills in downtown Winston-Salem and cried on my parents. I was nervous. As all of my closest friends will tell you, change and I don’t have the most positive relationship.  As I moved into my double, I came to appreciate my mom’s desire to make up my bed and my dad’s excitement to move, and then move again, and then move back every piece of furniture that my tiny dorm had to offer. For that one day, my fierce independence seemed to drift off as the reality of college set in. And then it was real.

If no one has told you this yet, then let me be the first: there is no right way to “do college.” Read that again. There is only your right way.  Maybe for the first time, you get to decide what kind of person you want to be and how you want to live your life.  If you hate mornings, don’t take an 8 a.m. class. If you will truly never open a planner, then don’t go buy one for $15 at the bookstore. If you really like Indiana Jones, and you want to try something new, take an archaeology class. The possibilities are nearly endless, and the best part is that you can try something and decide you hate it, and then just move on and try something new. 

You are an outstanding group of young adults. You will challenge each other in your weed-out pre-med classes, comfort each other when you’re feeling homesick, laugh together while on 2 a.m. Subway runs and scream so loud your throat hurts at football games. Take the time to get to know each other — your lifelong best friends are somewhere on the quad, you just have to find each other.

The only promise I’ll ever make to you is this: every experience you have over the course of this year will not be the best experience of your life. There will be hard days and roommate tiffs, and moments when all you want is the comfort of a home cooked meal. But when you look back on this year in May, and then again three years from now as a washed-up senior, all these moments will seem to tell a patchwork story of how you found who you wanted to be.

You don’t have to do it alone, though. The beautiful thing about college is that there are always three years of students that have made mistakes so you don’t have to. When an upperclassman says “Hey, let’s grab lunch”, take them up on it.

Let me be the first to offer: Hey, I’m Ally, I’m so excited that I’ll get to meet you all soon, let’s grab a coffee and have a chat. Pop by and see me in Benson 304!

All the best,

Ally Swartzberg