Welcome to Cohort 7 (Speech at the Opening Celebration 2018)

Dear members of  staff, dear fellow LASsies, and particularly dear cohort 7,

Welcome. (dramatic pause)

We are here to give you a speech. So we’ve been asking ourselves the past few days: “What shall we actually talk about?” And you know, it wasn’t easy at all. Of course, we had no clue who we’ll be addressing tonight. Such a large group of very, veeery unique people. Most of you, the new generation of LAS students, are still a mystery to us. That’s the thing with LAS – each cohort is a very special blend of people, cultures and beliefs. Each cohort has its own energy, dynamics, some would say vibe. And we’re still in the process of figuring yours out. That is not to say that we don’t have anything in common. Just some time ago, we were in your shoes. For me, it was just a year ago, for Tea, it was two. We were going through the exact same situations as you are now. Feeling pretty much the same way as you do today. Confused, sometimes overwhelmed, maybe even scared.

At the same time, we were super excited to see what’s coming up and how it’s all going to turn out. Am I going to like this programme? Did I make the right decision by coming to Freiburg? Is this what I truly want? We know that you still have no clue what you’re doing or where you’re heading. Yet, bear in mind that that’s alright and that’s how each one of us felt. I know I did for sure. Even just a couple of weeks ago, to be honest. Once I realized how much public speaking being an Executive Organizer involves, I seriously started questioning my decision to become one. Still, this made me acknowledge something very important. This is actually what we do in LAS. We face our fears and try to overcome them. We engage in novel, unusual things even though they might appear scary or intimidating.

We feel that this event – The opening celebration – is actually quite a decent representation of what studying LAS will be like. Most of the time you’ll have people giving you a very general introduction with some instructions, just like we did the other day, encouraging you to follow what you feel fits you the best, and then letting you choose your own path. The same as today, you will always have guidance in LAS.  The rest, of course, is up to you to be discovered and pursued.

Okay, Mathias, we don’t want to bother our audience for too long. Our first-years have prepared such a lovely programme for us tonight. Plus, I remember hearing once – a good speech should be like a miniskirt – long enough to cover the essentials, and short enough to remain interesting. Perhaps it was Trump? I can’t remember anymore.

So, all that’s left for us to do is to wish you a fantastic night and a great beginning of your studies!