Unterreiner: To the Class of 2016

Sept. 17, 2012, 11:10 p.m.

It has become traditional for Daily columnists to offer each year’s incoming freshman class a bit of advice accumulated from the wisdom that flows from time and experience. I’m not going to do that.

I’m not going to do that because time and experience have taught me that failure forges us into stronger thinkers, citizens and friends. It is struggle, not success, that reveals – and changes for the better – who we are. So I’m not going to help you avoid it.

Unterreiner: To the Class of 2016Because even if I wanted to, I couldn’t. The only people who don’t make mistakes at Stanford are the people working in the admissions office at 355 Galvez Street. As much as you may get wrong, always remember this: they got you right.

They got you right. That will be easy to remember this week, and easy to forget by the end of the year. Never lose sight of where you came from and who you are – the person you’ll be during the sun and new friends and pageantry of NSO, the person who worked hard for four years to get here, the person who shone and stood out and impressed – no matter what happens in Chem 33 or Math 51 or the HumBio Core.

But don’t be afraid to leave that person behind either. Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable. Don’t fear the transformation that comes with defeat.

That’s part of why we’re here at The Daily’s new Opinions section. We are proud to represent, to listen and, yes, to challenge you – especially as you learn and change in the crucible that is this place we call home together.

In this space over the coming weeks, you’ll see columns and editorials on student mental health, on campus culture and politics, on the November election, on sexuality and art and the environment. You’ll see columns you love, columns you profoundly disagree with, columns you can’t stand and, if we do our job well, columns that inspire or change you.

But whatever you read in this space, know this: we will not take our job for granted.

Early last week, rioters burned down the Libyan consulate in Benghazi, taking the lives of four American diplomats, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The ostensible cause: an amateur film mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

The tragic deaths underscore the importance of both our rights and responsibilities as journalists – rights and responsibilities we take seriously. We at The Stanford Daily are proud to defend the right to free speech – a right not granted or understood in many parts of the world. We are also committed to exercising that right fairly, respectfully and with the force of reason, logic and intellectual rigor.

Along the way, we, like you, will make mistakes. We, like you, will seek to learn from them. And we, like you, will grow and change.

In short, we are your paper, and this is your Opinions section. Like you, we will always do our very best. When we fall short, we expect you to hold us accountable – via op-eds, emails, or letters to the editor. And we will remain committed to our core principles – rational argument, respectful debate and fair dialogue – even as we adapt to the changing reality of campus culture and the world around us.

Welcome to campus. We look forward to working with you.

Miles Unterreiner

Managing Editor for Opinions, Volume 242


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