Art by Peau Porotesano
Editor’s note: The Staff Editorial is an opinion piece we at the Graphic publishes each week in the Perspectives section. These pieces are from our staff as a whole and reflect our diverse but unified views about topics we think are important, both on and off campus, as they relate to Pepperdine.
Congratulations, freshmen! You have survived NSO. You have survived the week full of intense and seemingly unending cheerfulness of Orientation Leaders.The week of overall madness and sleep-deprivation. The week of endless high-fives, handshakes, bro-hugs and fist-bumps from people whose names you can barely remember. The week in which you mastered saying your name, hometown and major on repeat. (Our sincerest sympathies for those whose names are never pronounced correctly the first time, for those from tiny towns no one has heard of and those who have to constantly repeat their major is undecided.)
No doubt some people made great friends and maybe even picked a winning date at My Tie. Hopefully the Class of 2019 is insanely pumped to be Waves.
The great news about the hyper-friendly attitude everyone on campus seems to have — especially during NSO — is that people will actually tell you how to find that one classroom, will hold the door open when you’re carrying way too many books out of the campus bookstore, and will keep the high fives, handshakes and bro-hugs coming when you need them most.
Pepperdine is a place where it is always acceptable to say hello to that stranger in the hall, wave to a passerby or ask a question of your neighbor in line. That won’t be changing, but it won’t always be accompanied by the rush of overenthusiastic upperclassmen and name-tagged acquaintances.
But for those questioning the unfaltering smiles of Orientation Leaders, the semi-polygamist (and fairly dated) idea of My Tie and the required cardio level to maintain nightly dance parties.
The traditional first introduction to Pepperdine is orange-clad upperclassmen exploding with school spirit. (Are they really even that excited to lug boxes around all day? The answer is no. Not in the slightest.) Next, you’re awkwardly meeting suitemates, decoding all the building acronyms (Is there even a difference between the TAC and the TCC?) and reluctantly joining Frosh Follies — because missing out on midnight practices and the opportunity to peform in front of hundreds of people you don’t know would be a travesty.
Later that night, you’re awake in your extra-long twin bed, listening to kids adventuring around campus, haunted by the image of the frankly terrifying Willy the Wave. You may have thought, “What if this school isn’t right for me?” Your worries are not alone.
The next time that you hear someone chant, “Ayo Waves!” know that it is OK not to be ready for full-throttle enthusiasm. There are many of us here with you, and there are many of us who thought New Student Orientation was like a neverending camp instead of a first week of college.
But your fears of this school being a camp and not, in fact, a college will be eased: After the hype of NSO, after the scramble of Greek Recruitment, you will settle into your place here. Good things and authentic relationships don’t happen overnight — they take time to establish.
At Pepperdine, it proves extremely beneficial to put yourself out there. But especially in the energy of the beginning of the year, with NSO, Greek Recruitment and abroad applications, don’t forget to breathe. Take some time alone to refuel. And don’t panic.
Sometimes the current of Pepperdine doesn’t seem to go your way, but you’ll find your reef. Don’t freak out if you’re not all energy all the time. There are definitely others left wondering if every admitted student can sing, dance or play the ukulele. Truth is, there are many, many other students like you who are just too nervous or caught up in it all to admit that they don’t get the “High School Musical” vibe that comes at the beginning. And trust us, nobody will hate you if you’re ever just plain over it.
Now that NSO week has passed, Pepperdine can feel like a whole different place. The quieter version of campus can be a welcome relief. NSO isn’t everyone’s time to shine, and once the storm of energy subsides, it can feel like you finally have room to be yourself. It may even be strange saying goodbye to Frosh Follies and getting into the swing of classes — especially if you’re still under the notion that the dance parties keep going every night.
No matter where you fall on the school spirit spectrum, NSO can feel like a jam-packed preview. However, the overall Pepperdine production is a grand adventure that really is what you make of it.
Your NSO experience doesn’t have to set the precedent for your whole Pepperdine career. If you haven’t made lifelong friends yet, there’s still time. If you didn’t meet your soulmate at My Tie, a “ring by spring” isn’t out of the question. If you aren’t completely sure about your major, you have all the time in the world to change it. So don’t put too much stock into NSO. After all, they may help you move in, but moving out is all on you.
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