Some say the value of the written word is lost among millennials. This is not true, however, for Mays Business School student Holly Melvin ’17. She has always been fascinated by her family’s history. Years of exploring ancestry.com has led her to some interesting discoveries, but nothing could compare to what she found in her attic the summer before her freshman year – a trunk belonging to her great-grandmother Mary Lou. Inside the trunk were various mementos, including more than 100 letters Mary Lou had written to her husband Fred while she was away at college. Holly was amazed that these letters, written 85 years before, told stories of the activities that she was looking forward to participating in during her own college experience.
This gave her an idea…
Holly decided to write one letter each week to her parents back home in Columbus, Texas. At the beginning, the project was tough and some days she was simply writing out of obligation to her parents. But she reached a turning point about half-way through the first semester of freshman year when she began to see the true value in writing the letters. Taking an hour each Sunday to sit down and write about everything that happened during the week – the accomplishments and the disappointments – gave Holly the opportunity to refocus and reflect. After writing, she often thought to herself, “If I’ve accomplished all of this in one week, what can I accomplish in the next seven days? The next seven months? The next seven years?” This motivated her to continue taking steps toward achieving her ultimate academic and career goals.
Gifts along the way
This project has given Holly many priceless gifts – the opportunity to remain close to her family, the motivation to accomplish her goals and the time to reflect on her stories from the week. One of the most special gifts, however, is one that is still to come. Years into the future, when Holly has a life that looks different from the way it is now, she will be able to read these letters and revisit the experiences and lessons that shaped her into the woman she is today. “You’re not going to remember every emotion or every feeling that you felt, but I can tell you, through writing, you’ll be able to look back and feel like you were there,” Holly said.
For Mays students, learning happens in the desks of Wehner, but also in the stands of Kyle Field, the seats at Muster and the dorm rooms in Hullaballoo Hall. All of these moments have shaped each Aggie’s journey and will continue to guide their futures. Through her letter-writing project Holly now has a written record of her time at Texas A&M, a road map of where she’s been and where she hopes to go.
Holly encourages everyone to spend 49 cents and an hour of time per week to write letters of their own. Take a look at Holly’s blog to read more about her project.