You guys. We have freshman on campus again. Like, tons of them. I'm not sure what the exact number is--I heard that there were around 130 moving into Anderson Hall alone--but there are A LOT of newborn Coyotes learning to navigate this campus of ours.
I know this because I was on campus this morning with a handful of my Delt brothers to help out with the opening festivities of Freshman Welcome Week, and one of my personal favorites: Move In Day. It's a day full of long lines, innumerable introductions, and lifting heavy boxes up a couple flights of stairs. I remember quite vividly my move-in experience as a freshman, and it involved all of the above with an extra crunchy layer of unease. I was going to be living on my own for the first time in my life, without even a roommate (thanks to a seriously lucky room draw that granted me a single room in Hayman Hall). Many of the close friends I made in high school did not accompany me to C of I, instead having drifted to other collegiate opportunities. I had no idea what the McCall Wilderness Experience would be like, or if I would be able to make even one friend in this giant crowd of people.
Luckily, it all turned out way better than I expected it to be, since I made fast friends with my Third North floormates and quickly found myself involved in some of the clubs the school had to offer. But I had no way of predicting that future as my mother and I lugged suitcases and small appliances up and down the narrow stairwells of Hayman, and if these freshmen are anything like I was, they don't have any way of predicting that either. I figure it's the least I could have done to offer myself as a solution to at least one of their problems during such a big day. Besides, I'm always up for meeting some new people!
I ended up spending about three and a half hours drifting between Hayman and Anderson Halls, hanging out with the super awesome Resident Assistants and First Year Mentors and stepping in whenever I saw a group of cardboard boxes floating above the parking lots. I wasn't able to get one of the nifty, official looking shirts the RAs and FYMs had, so there were times I probably looked awkward and/or creepy, but generally the responses to my offers of help were positive. Along the way, I got to mingle with some of the new students (one of whom happened to be the younger brother of a recent graduate I was good friends with), meet up with some friends of mine I hadn't seen in months (including Cindi Duft of Campus Ministries, who is one of the kindest people I've ever met), and became the eyes of our volunteer mascot (who was extremely gracious as they posed for photos in the summer heat). It was certainly a busy morning for me, and I wasn't even the one moving in.
It's a bit strange, not living in the dorms this year, and stranger still that I won't have a home anywhere near campus for at least the first couple of weeks, as the Delt Haus is still undergoing repairs. Dorm life was certainly an interesting experience, one that I can't help but recommend to all the prospective students out there. Like anything, there's a learning curve to thriving in the dormitories, but once you develop a solid routine and make friends with your neighbors, it'll easily become a home away from home.
In any case, the festivites of Welcome Week are far from over, and I'll be returning tomorrow afternoon to help put on our Club Fair, where all the freshman can get to know the various student organizations that the campus offers, followed by a Greek mixer of sorts later in the evening, which is basically an extension of the Club Fair to kick off some formal recruitment for all the Greek organizations on campus. If nothing else, both events will have free food, and nothing entices new students like free food.
To any freshmen who might be reading this post, I'd like to leave you with a fact about coyotes: unlike wolves, who reach full maturity after two years, coyotes become full grown after only one. This might be strange to think about, but this is your first day as a Coyote, the start of something big. Your first year will be full of lessons learned, just like any newborn might experience. You'll often feel as if you're a fish of a water, and you might find yourself outside of comfort zones. But don't worry--all of us were freshmen once. It'll be a busy year, a challenging year, a growing year, and a fun year--and then once next year hits, you'll be looking after some newborn Coyotes yourself. Don't forget to pay your experiences forward when you can.
Clayton is a junior creative writing major from Meridian, Idaho.