“I love meeting new people; I think everyone has a story to tell. We should all listen sometimes.” – Kim Smith
I’m quite certain that you have heard someone say that there are over 7 billion people in the world. It may get quite repetitive and borderline annoying, but there is absolutely no way that this overwhelmingly large statistic can be ignored. There are more people in this world than your own mind can even justifiably conceptualize. In our lifetime, we may only maybe see millions of people, which compared to the total human population is infinitesimal. Then, one must take into account the people that we will actually genuinely get to know and understand as a human being. Although we may see millions of people in the streets, those people often remain as just faces, and then dissipate into the depths of our mind like apparitions. The frightening thing is that sometimes the only thing that separates a forgotten face from a best friend may sometimes be as simple as “Hi.” The difference between an influential aspect in your life is as simple as a one syllable word.
Going into college orientation is a complex mix of emotions. There’s a feeling of extreme apprehension mixed with a sense of unbelievable excitement. The feeling to be a part of something from the very start is an overwhelming and difficult burden that is thrust upon the shoulders of those who have never been in a situation such as this before. The yearning to be wanted and have a tight-knit group of friends from the very start is a luxury that not one person does not seek. Wanting new friends is a shared value which is important because it allows a whole community to be friendly in a way that people are not accustomed to being. This is your first impression to much of your college community, how you are perceived from other people in these four days may be the image thrust upon you for four years.
This being said, the past few days has been a whirlwind of emotions for me as I myself embarked upon my freshman orientation. For me I could say it was difficult because as much as I have become an outgoing and friendly person, I often find it difficult to meet new faces and let my quite recognizable personality shine through. It is difficult to be your self when you are not at all sure how people will take it, but at then end of the day, I realize that it’s better for someone to actually know me rather than another persona that I fabricated myself.
As orientation occurred, I was put into many different situations where I was able to engage in conversations with people I have never met before. Like many first encounters, I would be lying if I said that some of them were not extremely awkward. Thoughts about whoever I was talking to were swirling through my head while I attempted to dismiss those thoughts in order to prevent myself from wrongly judging people. When meeting new people, there is a fine line between making sure you give everybody a fighting chance and making sure that you do not begin associating yourself with the wrong people. I have come to believe that the people you choose to associate with are as much of a showing of who you are to the entire world as is the way that you yourself actually show yourself.
This being said, I’m glad to say that of course I have made some new friends. Are they exactly the same as my friends back home? Absolutely not, but that’s what’s to be expected. It is hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that some of the people that I met the past few days could eventually be some of my dearest and closest friends. The uncertainty of it all; however, is the part that leaves me thirsting to know. Orientation marks the beginning of new things with new people in a new place that you will come to call home.
I cannot help but continue to feel that I truly have been thrown out of my comfort zone. I am a huge believer in having a general routine and cadence to my daily life. Orientation is the start to a change in your general routine and it will be quite a while before that new routine becomes intertwined into your life. I do realize though that it is irrational to believe that I will not get used to it. Although humans tend to struggle to grasp change, we have become quite efficient in being able to make the jump into new things once change has been forced upon us.
There is a sense of togetherness that I think orientation has already brought upon my entire class. We all have experienced the same exact emotions although some may neglect to admit it when they look back upon it. Whether it’s known or not, during orientation, it is the first time that an entire class can be united by solely feeling the same way at the same time. There’ no feeling like the first day of orientation, it is a feeling that only those attending it can really feel. It consumes everyone as you go through emotions that looking back upon now I find it exquisitely difficult to describe. If nothing else, orientation at least ensures that, although two given people may be altogether two completely different people, they can at least be brought together by the shared emotions that orientation causes in all who undergo it.
I sit here with unbridled excitement, a hint of nostalgia, a taste of fear, and a tinge of sadness as I finish orientation and move onto my college life. I’m comforted by the knowledge that I know everyone else feels the same way. I am ready to face the future with the rest of the class of 2016. Welcome to college everyone, and I hope that everyone has a great year.