To the Class of 2024

By Anissa Choiniere October 3, 2020

While all Rensselaer students are adjusting to the difficulties of online learning, the Class of 2024 is adjusting to the college experience as well. I would like to address these new and brave peers of mine who I have yet to meet. 

RPI Class of 2024, I was supposed to have the chance to welcome you to Troy and to this new chapter of your life back in August. This is about as close as I can get until next semester. 

You’re now about four weeks into the year and possibly feeling a bit overwhelmed. Around this time, the negative thoughts start creeping in, telling you that your classes are too hard, you aren’t smart enough, and you aren’t fitting in. I want you to know that nearly every RPI student feels this way at some point. Rensselaer is challenging. Academics here aren’t meant to be easy; they’re meant to challenge and teach you. Each course requires your undivided attention. Even navigating campus can be an unplanned workout. 

Rensselaer will challenge you to grow each day and it is up to you to decide whether to meet that challenge or not. Know this: we’re all rooting for you, your peers, your professors, your friends, your Institute, and your Union. Please take advantage of the resources around you. Reach out to upperclassmen whether it’s through clubs or Greek Life. Take advantage of clubs; if you didn’t get a chance to go to the Activities Fair, check out the club directory here: Avoid competing to the point of being detrimental, work together and learn instead. Ask questions in class and go to office hours, even just to chat. Seeking out help will never harm you. Form study groups (virtually or 6 feet apart). Check out the Health Center counseling resources or stop by ALAC tutoring. Invest in a warm winter coat before we have several feet of snow on the ground. Get involved and find your people.

Quite often, you’ll hear negativity from frustrated upperclassmen online or on campus. I won’t tell you it’s all a lie, but I will tell you that only you can define your RPI experience. The loudest few have no problem being heard. This Institute has incredible opportunities and it’s up to each one of us to take advantage of them and become the best people we can be. It’s also okay to be not completely satisfied with your college life! If that is the case, however, I beg you to please try to do something about it. 

If you have any questions about campus resources or opportunities, please reach out ( and I will do what I can to help.