Art by Peau Porotesano
Loud. Hectic. Exhausting. Caring. Embracing. Exciting. All terms that sum up my time served at NSO.
I was given a heads up about what I was going to experience as I drove down dorm road, but nothing could truly prepare me.
A wave of commotion broke through when my car passed the first location of these highly energized greeters. People were screaming, chanting and even doing cartwheels in front of my car. All I thought was, “What kind of college did I sign up for?”
When I finally parked the car, all of the Orientation Leaders flooded my car like a swarm of people who just heard the words ‘free food.’ They were all excited to be unpacking their first person of the day until they saw how many items were crammed into my car. They all had looks of pure disbelief. I was embarrassed for a time, questioning how I managed to pack so many belongings. I felt this way until I realized many people were in the same boat. In fact, almost all college freshman are in this boat.
All freshman overpack. I know I did it big time. There is no question about it. I convinced myself that I needed to bring a board game I have not played in years. I brought it just in case there is a slight chance someone would want to play it.
“I haven’t worn this in years, but there is going to be an occasion where this will be the only thing I can wear,” Taylor Swaak writes in his article “What I Wish I’d Knew Before I Went to College” published September 1, 2015 by CNN. Taylor explains the exact struggle I went through when packing.
After new students finish moving in, there are numerous activities to get freshmen plugged into the campus. Most of these activities involve saying the same introduction what feels like a million times:
“Hi, my name is ______. I am from______. I am majoring in _____.” Etc.
These activities also involve complete immersion into the Pepperdine culture. Everyone on campus welcomes the freshmen with widespread arms and a joyous love for their university. It makes people feel excited because deep down they know these people will quickly become their best friends. I know it made me feel this way. It made me feel like the stranger I stood next to in the food line would soon be my best friend. It made me feel one day that the walk up to the CCB will no longer make my heart race to 180 beats per minute. (Maybe.) All of these things give me such an astounding pride of Pepperdine even though I have only been here a few days.
A 2014 Gallup Poll states that only 18 percent of college graduates feel an emotional attachment to their university. This number is low because these students do not have mentors; they do not have people jumping for joy in front of cars because they drove on to campus. Most importantly, they do not feel like a person in their college.
Even before I arrived on campus, I felt included in the Pepperdine community. People offered advice and answered all of my questions about Pepperdine. I am already so proud of my university and classes have not even started.
I truly was not prepared to feel this way about the place I attended college. The support of the Pepperdine community can make anyone feel welcomed.
So I guess for now I’m overpacked and slightly more prepared for college.
Follow Hadley Biggs on Twitter: @hadleyyyyyyy