By Ben Hahn
Driving to college for the first time took four long hours on the highway. I found myself in the unusual situation of already knowing my roommate before arriving on campus. In fact, we had been close friends for most of high school so I felt little nervousness on my part when it came to that greatest of move-in day worries. We drove together to our residence hall on that first day. All of my belongings were packed up in boxes and bags in the car. I thought I would be more anxious but all I could really feel was a large looming sense of endless possibility.
As we pulled into the drop off zone in front of our residence hall, the buzz of excitement was palpable. It was sunny and cloudless. The end of the summer was just around the corner but it was still quite warm and green everywhere. We were instantly greeted by three very enthusiastic student staff and before I knew it most of my stuff was out of the car and already in our 5th floor room. It took surprisingly little time to unpack and get everything set up in our new home. We spent the next couple hours exploring the residence hall, finding the foosball table, setting up our mailboxes, and meeting dozens and dozens of new people who were just as excited as we were.
The rest of the day was a blur. At some point I bought my books for classes, signed up for a half dozen clubs in the main square, and spoke with my academic advisor. There was music and people dancing in the fountain. Someone had created a huge chalk mural on the bricks welcoming the new students to campus. There were so many extracurricular events and activities to sign up for. Staff, Faculty, and upper classmen were running around on important errands. Just as many folks stood behind booths or tables imploring me to consider a petition or read a pamphlet. I had so much energy and hope that I signed up for everything that interested me. I came back to my new room with a backpack full of books for class but also just as many handouts and leaflets.
Looking back, I remember that it took me a very busy semester to learn how to prioritize my time. I might have bitten off more than I could chew that first day at college, but I am glad I got so involved in campus life that day. I made so many new long lasting friendships and laid down a stake in my new community. It was a fantastic experience. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.