It’s the end of July and that means August is just around the corner and with it comes classes. Excitement and anxiety are the two main emotions looking toward that not so distant first day of college. No parents, no past, everything is a new start.
Well, that’s what movies and TV shows lead people to believe. The new students show up and are in awe. People are friendly and approachable, and all of sudden the main character has met their best friend, not-such-a-nice-girl roommate and the love of his or her life.
It’s not nearly that glamorous.
Not to say that the first day isn’t full of jittery excitement, overly friendly orientation leaders and parents moving box after box up several flights of stairs. The excitement is definitely real. The first time being on your own, and no one can really tell you what to do. It’s cool, foreign and a great responsibility.
It just isn’t as fascinating or exciting as “Monsters University,” “Pitch Perfect” or “21 & Over.” There are ridiculous traffic jams, both on streets and in the Theophilus Tower lobby. Parents are snapping at each other and kids are acting like those aren’t their parents. It’s generally a hot, humid, gross day that no one wants to do work in, let alone carry boxes of an entire life up ten flights of stairs.
After all the boxes are moved in, the roommates have greeted and awkwardly moved in around each other, there really isn’t a whole lot to do. Some students go to orientation because they fished out the $100 for it, others aimlessly wander around campus clutching their schedules to their chests looking for the elusive Life Sciences Building and still others trudge along between their overly excited parents, who are sending their first baby off to college.
The past doesn’t really disappear either. All people care about that first day is who you are, where you came from and what your back story is. Just kidding. The only thing people care about on the first day is your major. Even your name is unimportant. No one will remember it the next day as you have to reintroduce yourself to several people. They couldn’t care less if you were the cheerleading captain, homecoming king or star quarterback. No one cares that you were voted prom queen your senior year. What ends up mattering is personality and character. Loyal, feisty, smart, cheeky, geeky and all around freaky, plus any other word that rhymes, are the things that matter.
All the parents leave, orientation starts and roommates figuratively cling to each other as they go to Bob’s for the first time.
And that’s it.
Welcome to college.
Claire Whitley can be reached at email@example.com