A Letter To My Freshman Self

For most of us in academia, the end of September represents a transition from Summer to Autumn, and from the turbulent chaos of a new academic year to the more settled rhythms of mid-semester.

But for freshmen, the end of September brings more significant transitions. How will collegiate midterm exams differ from their high school exams? How will the contemplative writing assignments of PC’s Western Civilization program differ from their grade school essays? And just as importantly, how will the temptations and opportunities of “dorm life” support — or impede — their academic goals?

Gerard Looser (‘09, ‘10G) of KPMG International recommends that we read John Veilmeyer’s A Letter To My Freshman Self, published on LinkedIn earlier this month. The Letter can be found by clicking here.


Professor Margaret Ruggieri of the Accountancy Department asked Gerard to write a brief introduction that presents his reflections regarding this Letter. We agree with Gerard that the Letter is not solely a worthwhile essay for freshmen; it is also a worthy read for all of us who were once freshmen, and who can look back on our own turbulent years of transition.

From Gerard:

A colleague of mine forwarded me a letter that John Veihmeyer, Chairman of KPMG International, wrote as a contribution to A Letter to My Freshman Self: Domers Reflect on Their Undergraduate Experiences, which is a collection of personal letters from Notre Dame alumni that was distributed to the freshman class at Notre Dame this year.

As a current employee of KPMG, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for John and all that he has accomplished as a leader in our firm, including driving the ethos of a high performance culture, his focus on diversity, and his relentless commitment to giving back to the community.

As I read John’s reflection, I instantly related to many of his experiences, including learning the value of hard work from my father, the desire for a purpose, and leading by example (just to mention a few). I encourage you to read his letter, and perhaps to take a few moments to reflect on the stories, knowledge and experiences that you might share with your freshman self. Go Friars!

Gerard Looser (‘09, ‘10G)