In Defense of Education—Welcome to UM

Congratulations, incoming freshmen. Welcome to the University of Miami, the greatest school in Florida and one of the leading universities in the United States. You have come very far from your humble beginnings in kindergarten all those years ago. You have matured greatly since those days. Now that you’re in college, you must continue to grow in your education.

This is becoming increasingly difficult for your younger peers as America’s education system continues to be rattled by budget cuts, wars against scientific principles, and the growing influence of standardized tests. The system was better off when you entered it than it is now, when you left it.

However, you are lucky, Class of 2015. You have earned a remarkable opportunity to grow as an individual and as a person. The University of Miami experience is unique because it offers a plethora of courses, activities, and organizations open to students. Sports, religion, hobbies—you name it, you have access to it. The best part of it is that most of them are already covered by your tuition (F-R-E-E). You have no reason to avoid these opportunities.

The college life grants you independence from your past and puts you in charge of your destiny. You can pursue things you enjoy or try new things. The choice is yours. You are in control. Remember to take risks, take chances, and take courses outside your majors. In this world of dimwits, there is no greater superpower than brainpower. After all, the key to success is a strong intuition.

Remember that most of your education takes place outside of the classroom, especially if you’re living on campus. There are so many resources on campus, it is mindgrinding. Take advantage of the Toppel Career Center for employment advice or bulk up at the Wellness Center. You’d be crazy not to do it. Take it from me, a man who has switched majors seven times in three years: DO IT. You can learn a lot about yourself just from seeing your academic advisor. And, if you can, find a major or career that makes you happy.

In this age of widespread corruption, dwindling natural resources, and swelling competition, no voice is more important than yours. Always question the ways of the world but never doubt yourself. You must also never give up on your passions. This is your opportunity to take an active role in your life.

From what I have seen, maturity is defined by seven qualities—integrity, intuition, compassion, honesty, determination, empathy, and a slight touch of skepticism. Keep an open mind and an open heart to reach your full potential as a human being.

The road to adulthood is difficult (and really sucks), but remember you are not alone. You are the best of the best, well on your way to success. Welcome to the University of Miami. This is your moment!

Andrew Blitman is a senior majoring in marine affairs and biology. He can be contacted at