Dear CMU Class of 2023…

In the spirit of the first Orientation not in a brightly colored shirt welcoming first years but as an alum, I thought I’d write an open letter to the Carnegie Mellon University Class of 2023 sharing some words of advice and reflection of my four years at CMU.

I know how many speeches, welcoming messages, breakout sessions, and icebreaker activities that you probably heard this week during Orientation all with similar flavors of “starting fresh”, “trying something new”, “challenge and discover yourself” and so on. So I’ll save you from another iteration of those speeches with this letter. Instead, I’m going to zoom out a bit and provide some insights into the bigger picture – this seemingly long journey of four years (but really going to go by faster than you think) and roadmap that you get to be the curator of yourself. You got in college, so now what?

Because at the end of the day, while there many people are excited for you and here for you, willing to help you – they all point to one crucial thing: you. Without you and the willingness to learn and explore and be challenged, there is no them. With that, here are a couple of things to think about as prepare for the first day of classes.

Find a mentor.

It’s probably one of the most important takeaways during my time in college. A mentor is someone who can shed light into your life and help you through the different aspects and challenges that may bring you. A mentor is someone can help guide you as you craft your own roadmap through this journey. But a mentor-mentee relationship isn’t just a one-way street of give-and-take from the mentor to mentee. It’s important that you as the mentee make the best effort to be engaged as well. Mentors are people too – they aren’t perfect – which is why really devote the time to cultivate and find the mentorship that is ‘right’ for you. It’s a process, and it might not happen on the first try. But it’s okay. Regroup and try again.

There are couple other things I mention. Check out the full article on my personal blog here. On another note, I’m actually working full time local now so don’t hesitate to reach out if you want at erichuan@alumni.cmu.edu!

Eric Huang | Undergraduate Economics 2019

Eric is a recent alumni and graduated with a B.S. in Economics (concentration in Strategy and Markets) and a double major in Chinese Studies and minor in Business Administration. He studied abroad for two summers in Shanghai and London and was involved on campus as a Resident Assistant, Emerging Leaders, and cmuTV. He enjoys cafe-hopping and am glad to be in Pittsburgh full time at PNC as a Model Risk Associate.

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