Keynote speech preps freshmen for college

“The Class of 2010, large and in charge,” was the rallying cry of James Norfleet, vice president of Student Life, at the keynote speech delivered for Welcome Week on Sunday.

Norfleet, who was hired last semester, gave the freshmen advice to help them in their four years at the College.

“You are no longer children,” Norfleet said. “You are adults in your own right.”

Norfleet urged students to learn responsibility, and to strike out on their own, away from their parents’ control. He said college is to prepare students for real life, and that they should prepare to make difficult decisions on their own.

He told students to accept responsibility, make sure they know their class syllabi and warned them to watch out for parents who still treat them as children.

Norfleet said students shouldn’t be afraid to speak to professors and administrators and work to solve problems themselves. If there is a problem with a roommate, he suggested they try to work it out with each other and their friends.

He urged students to, when comfortable, embrace the diversity found at the College and meet people from different backgrounds and different parts of the state and country.

According to Norfleet, though the college experience begins by “trying to make yourself at home away from home,” students should go out, meet new people and try new things.

“College is not a solo act. Lone rangers do not make it in college,” Norfleet said.

Norfleet called for students to watch out for each other. If a friend drinks too much at a party, don’t leave her there, he said. She isn’t in a position to make good decisions. If you know a friend is in trouble, you should stick by him or her.

He warned students to stay away from bad friends who pressure others to do things they don’t want to do. Norfleet said sometimes the hardest thing to do is admit that who you thought was a good pal isn’t a friend at all.

“Sometimes the most difficult task is the journey inwards,” Norfleet said.

Norfleet admitted that college is much harder and far different from anything an incoming freshman has ever experienced. However, he said that this is what helps one look inside.

According to Norfleet, what makes the job of serving on the faculty at the College so joyful is helping students find their calling in life by helping them focus on what they want to do and how to reach that target. The goal of college is to not only educate, but teach students how to succeed in life, he said.

“We will witness the unfurling of your wings over the next four years as you soar to heights not thought possible,” Norfleet said.