Looking back at September
Someone once said, "Time flies when you"re having fun." With October just around the corner, and my first month as a Mule nearing its end, I can"t help but agree. Last week, as I checked my iCal to figure out what assignments I had to complete, I noticed the twenty-two-day space between the square I had marked as "COLBY!!!" and the square that was marked with today"s date. Twenty-two-days? Was that even possible? I had survived the first two and a half weeks of my freshman year. What I couldn"t figure out was: how had so much happened between August 31st and today?
During the second week of school, my parents asked me over the phone how the first two days of orientation had been. Realizing that I didn"t have as much to say about it as Iâ€ˆdid compared to the rest of my time here, I indirectly answered the question with every teenager"s favorite word: "fine." The strange thing was, that should have been the end of it; but it wasn"t. After I hung up the phone and started doing homework, the thought still plagued me: Why couldn"t I remember anything from orientation? It hadn"t been unmemorable or traumatizing in any way. I had spoken to some interesting people and participated in fun activities, but why hadn"t any of them played a part in defining my first month at Colby? It was after about a half hour that it dawned on me: the only thing I could vividly remember from the first two days was how tired I had been and how much I had enjoyed the free time, because it was the period during which I could choose what I wanted to do and with whom I wanted to do it with.
When I think of my life here, it comes flashing back in small moments. Going to dinner in pajamas at Bob"s, laughing at a twice-weekly lunch with four of my friends in Dana, cheering for the soccer team on a Saturday afternoon, joining the Echo staff, and walking the same route to classes every morning. Thinking back to the night of PlayFair, I see flashes of hundreds of students running through a crowd of strangers, giving them high fives and mumbling about assigned topics of conversation until a voice tells us to switch partners. That night, one of the girls in my dorm even complained that crowding everyone into the hockey rink and blowing a whistle after half a minute had passed seemed more like speed dating, not a bonding experience. What saddened me was that I had completely agreed with her. The one thing that I couldn"t understand was why.
I am in no way trying to diminish the importance of orientation, or say that it was the worst part of my first two weeks at Colby. It"s the time that we are given to find our footing and find our place. What I suggest is that the time be taken during orientation to emphasize that making both friends and memories happens all the time throughout the day, not just during the events that are scheduled for us. Instead of being overwhelmed with new faces before we can even recognize the people who live in our dorm, why not start small and work our way outward? The same themes used for orientation could easily be adjusted to fit the everyday: talk to someone new, sit at a different table in the dining hall, ask if that one empty seat in the library is taken. Whatever the scenario, it should be based on comfort, not on expectation.
Since arriving on Mayflower Hill, the lives of the class of 2014 have been changed forever. We"re not kids anymore ,and we are staring at our futures head on, finally understanding that as of right now, we are a part of the real world. When asked about our favorite part of our first weeks at Colby now and in future years, some of us might say that it was moving in, or eating mozzarella sticks at midnight in the Spa. The beauty of it is that everyone has different answers. We all come from different places, but we come together here to find common ground. In my first month at Colby, that is what I have learned. It is in the smallest things that we find joy here, and it is in the even smaller moments that we find out what makes us feel like we"re finally home.