I can hardly believe how long it’s been since I’ve had a free moment to blog. Honestly, I’ve missed it so much. There’s nothing like being creative and reflective over here, and I’m going to start back up again. I moved into my dorm at Mount St. Mary’s University on Friday, August 18th. Since then, things have been a whirlwind. I’ve already grown and learned so much in the little more than a month that I’ve been there, and am soaking in the opportunities that are so abundant in the college atmosphere. This post is going to go into some detail about moving in, the first weekend of college, and how I was feeling during that huge transition. Later this week I’ll be sharing a post encapsulating the first month here, since I feel it’s a big deal and so many exciting things have happened (and are still to come).
Move-in day arrived way faster than I anticipated. After rushing around my house, I finished packing my life into boxes and bins. All of the checklists and details were finalized. I was feeling high levels of anxiety as I said goodbye to my dogs (oh, that was so hard) and hopped into the car. We took two cars since I’m keeping my car at school. I didn’t even want to drive, so I rode with my mom and my sister and dad brought my car.
My college is roughly an hour from my house. My dad is precious and he tracked the miles to school from my home. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so nervous as I did on the ride to school that day. Every bit of anticipation, excitement, curiosity blossomed into a bundle of nerves that overwhelmed me a little on the ride there.
Upperclassmen students, ROTC members, and athletes all help with moving in the first-years, and when I say help, I mean that I didn’t carry a single item upstairs to my dorm. It was HOT on move-in day, and it is a ton of work to set up a dorm room. My family, especially my sister, was so helpful in getting everything set up, organized and looking good. My dorm room is a lot spacier than I thought, and I love the way my organization and decor stuff turned out. Luckily, our move-in’s go by last names, so I had the room to myself when I moved in. We had plenty of space to spread out and make decisions.
Lunchtime rolled around, and I enjoyed the last meal I’d have with my family for a while. Afterwards, we took care of lots of errands, like registering my car, picking up my ID, and finishing up with putting things away in my room. I dreaded the moment when my family would have to leave. Anxiety became the priority emotion I felt. Overwhelmed and scared, I questioned my ability to thrive here.
At some point in the afternoon, it was time for my family to go. I cried (even though I didn’t want to), but then headed off with my roommate to start our orientation weekend.
Friday August 18th
MSM does a lot of orientation activities and we had a pretty tight schedule, especially Friday and Saturday. Friday night, we went to a presentation with Ken Nwadike of the Free Hugs Project, which was really fascinating and a great introduction to the dialogues and conversations that happen in college. I went to a mandatory residence hall meeting. My roommate and I created an agreement like the other girls in my building did.
My school has a student-run organization called AMP, or the Activity Management Program, which plans a ton of cool on campus events, trips, night club events, bingo nights, and celebrity shows. AMP put on an event called Freshman Frenzy on Friday night, which basically was a big celebratory festival with some neat food trucks, games, and more.
I’ll admit, the first night of college was really rough. While I was excited, and knew that things would get better, I felt terribly sad. My family was gone, and I felt alone. I tried to stay optimistic, but it was really hard. I overcame many challenges and was pushed out my comfort-zone during the first few days.
The first night, I kind of questioned my decision to embark on a journey that involved so many changes. However, I tried to stay positive. I really liked my roommate, and the campus was so obviously beautiful. I went to bed a little sad, but hoped that things would get better on Saturday.
Saturday August 19th
Things did indeed get better on Saturday. I started to meet and chat with girls who live in my hall. The Mount’s liberal arts core curriculum provides a mandatory class for all incoming students, called First Year Symposium. My class is the honors version since I’m doing the honors program. Saturday, everyone attended that class, met the professors (I didn’t meet mine at summer orientation because she was hiking the Camino in Spain), and discussed our summer reading assignments.
That class session was really what I think was the turning point for me, where I started to feel okay and excited about being at college. My professor is absolutely brilliant, compassionate, smart and kind. She inspires me with literally everything she says. She pushes us to be our best but acknowledges, constantly, that life is continuing to change dramatically even as we attempt to find a routine at college. The people in my class were nice and I could see myself fitting in.
Saturday was mostly information sessions, from how to utilize different required technology and websites, to panels on sexual assault. I spent a lot of time getting to know girls from my floor, some of whom I really clicked with and know I’ll stay friends with.
Saturday night, I was feeling a little bit better about the prospects of school. Inspiration began to crawl in from different areas of the Mount, and I already felt like I could probably make friends here.
Sunday, August 20th
Sunday was a pretty fun day. Even though it was really hot outside, it was a gorgeous day, and I was feeling really happy that I was feeling better. Sunday is move-in day for the upperclassmen students, and first year students move them in within our symposium class sections. It was a pretty good workout, heaving that much stuff up the stairs! I actually really enjoyed moving in the upperclassmen because I felt like it was good bonding for our symposium class. Later that day, my roommate and I to a tailgate and to a women’s soccer game. It was really fun.
Overall, the first weekend of college was fun, but a rollercoaster emotionally. I didn’t know how upset I’d be at first, and then once that experience of being homesick and feeling out of place started, I certainly didn’t think that by the end of the weekend I’d be enjoying myself.