Welcome to the Tribe Class of 2020! Not only have you joined an amazing new family, but you have entered into a new world full of experiences, opportunities, and networks to which you will be forever connected.
As freshmen and new transfers are moving in, Orientation Aides shout and cheer for their dorms, and parents give last hugs and tearful goodbyes, I am easily transported back in time to my freshman move-in. It was a stressful morning silver-lined with excitement for the future. I lived in Yates my freshman year (shoutout to Y2C!) and I cannot imagine having been anywhere else. I am lucky enough to call some of those freshman hallmates my best friends, even as I am writing this entering my junior year. It’s strange now to look back on my fears of hall bathrooms and camp-like orientation events when they so quickly ceased to scare me.
Orientation was terrifying. I went from confident high school senior to unsure and anxious college freshman. I was living and eating with 20 or more girls I had never met. The icebreakers and hall mixers made an awkward situation more intimidating, but if not for those silly games or crowded meals, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Every moment bonded me with those girls, created memories I still think about when nostalgia takes over. Like, my first ever college meal was a plastic cup full of cereal eaten outside because I hated waiting in lines. Or, when one of the guys’ halls serenaded us with a hilarious rendition of a Disney song where we laughed half in embarrassment and half in pity. Or even when my hall went canoeing on Lake Matoaka and my partner didn’t feel like paddling so I powered and steered the canoe for the both of us (I still make fun of her for that one). My point is that these were the scariest moments of my life. My self-doubt and insecurities were high but those moments led me to find the friends and community in which I feel the most comfortable. If not for those scary times, I may never have had the amazing times too.
If you are finding move-in and orientation intimidating or scary, then maybe that means you’re headed in the right direction. You can get through it. Believe me, you will. And later you can look back on those memories like I do and realize just how you had all the right moves by moving in and starting one of the greatest times of your life.