Editorial: Dear Class of 2027

Editorial Board

As the Class of 2023 gets ready to graduate, so does the Class of 2027, just in a different capacity. This year’s graduates of Case Western Reserve University are leaving after their own unusual college experience of freshman year being interrupted by COVID-19, an entire year being remote and online and post-quarantine campus life. And while the Class of 2027 may have undergone a similar timeline in high school, the next four years will be one of the most foundational ones they will ever experience. So, this editorial is a bit of sage and friendly advice for the new class.

As the cliché goes, don’t come in with expectations or preconceived notions. As repetitive and obvious as it may sound, for a school like CWRU, with its population of nerdy, STEM-obsessed kids, it’s important to keep this in mind. While, sure, we have our quirks, this university has so much to offer. There is so much room for creativity on campus, regardless of whether or not you’re a STEM major. You can be part of a dance team, take art and poetry classes, advocate for causes or even write for The Case Western Reserve Observer while still being studious and social. Keep an open mind and avoid letting any preconceptions cloud your judgment or limit your experiences, especially if you didn’t think CWRU is where you’d end up for college. College is a time of exploration, discovery and growth, regardless of where you attend. Entering Cleveland, Ohio with rigid ideas about what it will be like can prevent you from fully engaging with the opportunities and challenges that CWRU presents. And again, it’s true—many of us may not have chosen this lovely college campus as our very first choice, but entering college means letting go of the preconceived notions and embracing the unknown.

One of the best ways to embrace the unknown is by meeting new people and finding your community on campus through the hundreds of student organizations offered. The best way to get in touch with these groups is through the Student Activities Fair (SAF), offered at the end of Discover Week, our version of orientation week (or O-Week). In just a couple hours you can shop through rows of student organizations, learn about their missions and grab some free goodies. Even if you come to this event knowing which groups to join, try to keep an open mind. The beauty of the SAF is that you are not committed to anything; you can join mailing lists and talk to student organization leaders, no strings attached. You never know until you try, so why not try out for our improv troupe, IMPROVment, or play for club sports. They may just become your new favorite activities and your most memorable experiences at CWRU.

The same principle applies to finding your friends in your four years. While yes, you will make friends through O-Week, classes, club interest meetings and residence halls, don’t feel pressured to stick with the first friend group you make. Continue to keep that open mind and meet new people and make new friends. This will remain true throughout your entire college career, as your friendships will grow and sometimes be outgrown too. 

Speaking of growth, it’s easy to fall into a routine of classes, extracurriculars and social life once you find your groove at CWRU, especially during your upperclassmen years. However, don’t stop striving to explore Cleveland outside of University Circle, become involved with the campus community and expand your knowledge beyond required coursework. Figure out how to navigate the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority—it’s part of the CWRU experience. Attend events hosted by the University Program Board and University Media Board or volunteer through the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning. Take classes that you know nothing about or don’t have much experience in, not just for the easy A (which the humanities and social science classes are not). While, yes, any college can help you develop as a person, how you grow depends on where you are. CWRU’s impact on your growth will certainly be unique and challenging, but ultimately it’ll be for the best.

It’s incredibly easy to be pessimistic during the anxiety-inducing move-in day, the sleepless nights studying for your first exams and the times when you have to gulf down terrible food from Leutner. However, just know that there is plenty to look forward to here—including finding your academic stride, evolving as a person and leaving your legacy behind when you graduate, all while a new class begins their own journey at CWRU.