Getting Yourself Orientated

“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.

Cheers,

Andy

 

There’s Nothing but Goodbyes

“It’s so hard to leave – until you leave. And then it’s the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”- John Green, Paper Towns

At this time of summer, it is inevitable for those who are going to be incoming freshman in college that this will be the time that goodbyes will need to be said. Although many of my past posts have been somewhat sarcastic and a little less expressive, there is no easy way for me to look past this with a showing of sarcasm and being nonchalant. This is it as far as my old life is concerned. This is that moment when shear terror accompanied with an equal amount of unbridled excitement arises. It is where the realization of an imminent future coming into view over the horizon, and the shadowy reaches of the past is beginning to engorge all that I used to know and hold so dearly. Its not that my whole world will be turned head-over-heels, it is that the way of life that I have been so accustomed to living will just abruptly end just as it had begun. When this summer ends I will not only be saying goodbye to some of the most influential people that I have met in my life to this point, I will also be saying goodbye to life as I knew it, a life that i learned to love and enjoy. Leaving is like a quote, movie, or piece of art because its’ meaning changes with each person it comes into contact with. Some see leaving as an escape, while others see leaving with painful dissatisfaction, and then for others, they at first see it as nothing and then realize the implications that their decision had years down the road.

I still vaguely remember the first time in my life when I had to say goodbye to a certain life style that I had become accustomed to living. At the time, I had no idea that it was the first time I had to cope with change. At the time, I was only a strapping young lad of about three years old. I was shy, quiet and nervous, all adjectives that have become the opposite of the person I currently am. I can remember the first day of preschool like it was yesterday. It was the first time in my life that I had to say goodbye to the normal swing of things and welcome in a new life style. I remember crying and screaming while I desperately tried holding onto my Mother’s leg on the first day of school. The idea of some sort of change must have been a bitter and hard thing for my young mind to comprehend. At the end of the day, however, it was an adjustment that I could make, and it became the life that I have been so helplessly accustomed to for the past fifteen years.

Fifteen years later, I find myself in a similar situation. I may not be clinging to Mommy or Daddy, but I am left in a situation where I find myself in a place where all I can do is brace myself for the goodbyes. Not only am I leaving my old way of life behind, I am leaving some people behind that I have maybe just taken for granted over the past years. Some may sit here thinking that it isn’t goodbye for good, and to that I say that it is goodbye to the way things used to be. I have become so enveloped in my day-to-day endeavors over the years that I have sometimes neglected to realize all the different people I have consistently had in my life. So many common faces in school that I have seen 180 days a year for years on end will no longer be those friendly faces that greet me in the hallway. They may not have played a particularly big impact in my life, but at the same time, they have been there through it all with you, whether you have realized it or not.

Also, it means saying goodbye to the people in your life that you may have just been getting to know. There are always people going in and out of your life, some people just seem to come into your life at the wrong time. It becomes the classic case of being the right people, but just at the wrong time. It leaves a feeling of uneasiness in your stomach as you continually search the depths of your imagination for the possibilities and what-ifs. It is a feeling that can eat away at you and can leave you continually questioning. In the end though, I believe that I have found solstice in myself, knowing that with all the what-ifs comes the reality of it all, and what ever is meant to be is meant to be because the ones that are meant to stick around will be the ones who find their way back into your life.

Then there are those friends that you have met along the way that you still cannot foresee living without. Friends that have known every infinitesimal detail about your life. The kids who pick you up when it all falls apart and those who are right by your side when you feel like you are at the pinnacle of it all. These are the kids that I have grown up with playing sports. We were with each other to feel the despair of defeat but also there to feel the triumphs of victory. Our relationships have stretched so far beyond the sports field and many of these kids are the ones that I can call my best friends. I have gotten to know so many in such varied ways, but there is no denying that each of them has impacted me in different ways. These are the friends that although I know I will continue to see, it is still painful to know that things will never be the same.

More importantly, this is the time where you have to say goodbye to your family. These are the people that you have spent more time with than anyone else in the world. As well as your best friends may think they know you, there is absolutely no one in the world that knows or understands you better than your own family. The familiarity of spending lazy nights at home with your family will be a luxury that can only be offered when you are home from school. Home cooked meals will be replaced with mass-produced food that is made for no one in particular. More importantly, I believe I will be missing the little things that have come to bother me a little at home. I will no longer be told to take out the garbage or mow the lawn. I won’t have to wake up and clean the house before I go out to begin my day. The teeny-tiny things that I have known so well will be the things that I will not have while I was away. Although where my family is will still be my home, I’m going to have to see this home in a different way than I have ever needed to, a way that is difficult to imagine.

So when you are saying goodbye to those around you when you are leaving for college, remember that you are not only saying goodbye to them. It is the time when you are saying goodbye to the way things used to be. It is saying goodbye to life as you know it. At the same time you are also welcoming in a new way of life, a life that you will eventually learn to relish. As humans we have been brought up to fear change, but throughout history it has been apparent that progress is only discovered through change. So as I say goodbye, I will also be sure to be saying hello, hello to new things and new opportunities that although intimidating at first, will be the kind of change that I will look back to be glad that I undertook. As you say goodbye, I ask you, what is it that you will be missing most?

Cheers,

Andy

“The snake that cannot cast its’ skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”- Friedrich Nietzsche

The fun begins

Con”grad”ulations graduate! You have successfully completed the requirements to receive your high school diploma. Those four years of waiting until the night before a project is due to start it has really paid off! Who says procrastination was a bad thing? You may have gotten an “A” but you put a lot of time and effort into it. I got a “C” and I only had to throw a few intelligent-sounding words and the first few images that I found on Google pertaining to my topic in and BOOM. Go ahead and call me an underachiever. To that I say, “Well, you’re an overachiever.” (yeah, I really told them the deal)

After graduation, you expect to have a nice relaxing summer full of friends and good times with absolutely no worries. Then, when September rolls around, you will just be able to show up at college, no questions asked. That feeling of ease after a nice relaxing summer will still be pumping through your veins. You will go into class with that bronzed, sun-kissed skin, strolling in with your flip-flops still on while gently fishing the last few grains of sand out of your pockets. HA, since when is something ever this easy? Its more fun to watch us squirm.

Once you send that first deposit in to whichever school you decided upon, they have you right where they want you. Oh yeah, now it’s time to see how badly you really want college. Just a little pre-college hazing done by the actual college. I picture a bunch of middle-aged men and women with their glasses and suits on in a board room looking through the paperwork that is sent in and laughing at what they have done. “Hey Paul, you see this, they actually answered in explicit detail all 100 of the questions, what an idiot!”

It begins with boatloads of paperwork asking, “where are you from, who are you, whats your full name?” After trudging through the mounds of paperwork, you need to begin working on your schedule, a schedule that you are making based off the incredibly long placement tests. After this, you wait and see what classes you need to change to create a better and more fluid schedule, and being nothing more than a freshman means that in no way are we experts on this area, in fact, we know absolutely nothing  at first. You know what they say though, “survival of the fittest, only the strong go on.” So if you have survived this bit of stress, you get to look forward to the alcohol awareness course as well as the rape course that must be completed online. Don’t worry though, each one only takes two hours! Yay!

After making it through all the summer “fun” you deserve to be a part of whatever college or university you are planning to attend. In all seriousness now, I believe all this work makes you become connected to everyone else at your school because it is an endeavor that everyone had to undertake. Looking back on it now, it seems worth it because it will make the first day of college that much sweeter. Knowing that the past 4 years and this past summer has culminated in walking through the doors of college is something to be proud of and look favorably upon. Many eighteen year olds would kill to be in the position that many of us are in and that is something to never forget. Now let the fun and games…. I mean, uhhhh, the hard work and studying begin.

Cheers,

Andy

and what a journey it was

Contrary to popular belief, that long, arduous journey to college did not happen over the course of one night. To be honest, the journey to college honestly wasn’t started when you just began high school either. The journey to college starts as nothing more than a glint in your father’s eye. It begins before you are even brought into existence (is this kid really claiming that the journey to college start before you are even born?) To that question I say, “hell yes!” There are not many people who influence you more in life than either parents or legal guardians, depending on your current situation. Little Billy boy or little Lucy lady are brought into this world prepared to take in the ideals that their parents instill in them. So when little Billy boy puts his velcro sneakers on and grabs his little brown bagged lunch to go and get on the bus on that first day of school, he goes with the work ethic and belief in education that his parents have.

After those few innocent years of elementary school come to an end, it means that you are headed into those embarrassing and often not-so-talked-about middle school years. (For me, middle school meant being chubby, awkward, and having my hair dyed blonde, it was pretty bad news) Middle school means possibly going to a new setting with people who you may not have ever seen before. At this time, most kids still really care about school, but it is also the time when the caring begins to cease. Little Billy begins to grow a few straggly hairs under his chin and little Lucy, well she starts wearing a training bra. Nobody has “cooties” anymore, and the school dances start becoming BIG news. “Did you hear Billy kissed Lucy?!” “I hear that they are dating!” With so many “love” affairs happening at one time, some kids just begin to start losing interest in school. (This didn’t happen to me because I was, as mentioned before, quite awkward) Some students carry on their excellent study habits, and some may even grow out of this phase, but for some, this loss of interest is unescapable.

So now you have FINALLY made it to high school. For the most part, the same friends that you grew up with are still with you. You’re in the big leagues now Billy and Lucy. That one random relative is constantly telling you about how great he was in high school, and you sit pretending and struggling to put on this facade that you are interested. We all have had those conversations with people who give us an uneasy vibe where all that can be done on your part is an uneasy laugh accompanied by an occasional forced smile and a nod of the head. High school is supposed to be the best part of anyone’s life, well at least Hollywood says that, so therefore it must be true. (I really do not mean that) Now that you are in high school though, the awkwardness that you once had has subsided at least a little bit. It is time for you to leave your mark, you are nothing more than a mangy freshman, so you know that you have to play it off like you are cool. Being cooler than the other side of the pillow, is the level of coolness that you are expecting to have. This is the moment where you can either sink or swim, it is the moment where a student needs to find balance. Some were destined to start believing that it is just high school and that if they at least show up that college will still be within reach. Others are able to realize that you can still be whoever you want to be while at least maintaining a fairly good grade point average. This is when the division into different groups or “cliques” occurs. There are a group of kids that some would call nerds, then there are  the gothic or “emo” kids. Along with this, there are your typical jocks, preps, kids who are “too cool for school,” and that one group of kids that wishes that they were going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Oh yeah, and then there is that one kid that no one will see until the night of graduation at the end of senior year. Although it does not seem like a big deal at the time, the group of people you surrounded yourself with does make a tremendous difference. They were either the kids that you studied with OR the kids that you slacked off with.

Now junior year rolls around and the college search is in full swing and more importantly,  the SAT’s are right round the corner. There is nothing nicer than putting so much pressure on a kid to do well on a single test. “oh come on, it’s just a test, it’s not like it affects the rest or your life!” Well actually it does, and it will be a major factor in determining where you will be going to college. Well now that the SAT’s are done, it would be time to begin picking the place that you will be studying the trade that you will be doing for the rest of your life. (no pressure) It is also the time when you either say “Wow, I’m glad I buckled down during high school,” or its the moment when all you can say is, “Wow I really wish I tried harder.” Applications to school are sent out and the nerve-racking wait for letters back from those school begins. Being denied acceptance to a school is just a polite way of them telling you that you are not good enough for us, try somewhere a little less renowned. Nothing boosts a young adults confidence like being told that you aren’t good enough, right?! Once you are settled on your second choice college, or for the lucky ones, your first choice, the journey to college is basically at its end, thus ending a nearly 18-year-old journey.

So there you go not-so little Billy and all-grown-up Lucy, you made it! Don’t be sad though, college is normally where the real journey begins, college is truly the stepping stone to the path that you will be taking for the rest of your life. Feel free to let me know what you think of this. Any comments or feedback is greatly appreciated. cheers, Andy

Who I am

Hey everyone!,

My names Andy. I’m from a small town in Northern New Jersey. It is the part of New Jersey that is not very close to the turnpike, nowhere near the shore, and definitely is not Camden. Some people from New Jersey may think that their day job is fist pumping, I like to think that my day job is picking up horse pooh (it is). This September, I will begin my first year at college. Just saying this means that I was some how able to survive the four awkward years that make up high school. You know, those four years where guys can kind of grow facial hair, but only in the most unneeded and non flattering places and girls, I’m not sure how girls considered themselves to be awkward, but I know for a fact that they  did, I just can’t sit here and claim to know why they did. The purpose of this blog is to capture my insights, thoughts, and ideas that I experience throughout my college experience, thoughts and insights that I hope others can understand and relate to. I hope to showcase my personality (fairly goofy) and my unique perspective on the world (also goofy). I hope you enjoy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cheers, Andy