Two days ago, August 21, I moved back to campus to begin my sophomore year. 365 days earlier on August 21, 2011, I moved to campus for the first time to begin my freshman year. As I began to set up my room two nights ago, I compared my move-in experience to the year before. Have I changed? Has my life changed? How is my August 21st different this year than last year?
For starters, I moved in early this year in preparation to be on Orientation Committee. When I got there very few people were on campus and almost nobody could be seen walking around. Suddenly I thought back to last year. Upon arrival my sponsors were there to greet me and my family, show me to my decorated hall, and help me with my stuff. And here I was a year later, driving myself, walking myself to the Office of Campus Life to pick my key up, and dragging my things up the stairs to my empty suite. There was no thoughtfully decorated name tag on my door. No “class of 2015” door hanger and my mom wasn’t there taking pictures every two minutes. It was just me, myself, and enough stuff to house and feed a small nation. I’m not sure what I was expecting. But the quietness was unsettling. You mean they don’t hold a welcome back to school parade for every returning student?
But then it was time for me to eat dinner. As I walked to the dining hall for my first meal back, I saw several people I knew, thus beginning the lengthy hugs and a deluge of questions. “How was your summer?”, “Why are you here so early?”, “Where are you living this year?”. That night after dinner several of my friends whom I hadn’t seen in far too long came into my still chaotic and unorganized room where we caught up on all we had missed during these last four months.
I felt so lonely arriving to campus as a sophomore. Gone was the special treatment of freshman year, 2011. Gone were my sponsors and gone was orientation week. But then I realized, lonely is exactly what Fall 2012 isn’t. Last year, walking to the dining hall on the first night, I wouldn’t have known anyone. There would have been nobody to hug, no tedious but socially necessary questions to ask and answer. No friends to catch up with late into the evening.
So yes, I am no longer a sage-baby. I have grown up and become a proud sagehen. I didn’t have the move-in day experience that I enjoyed so much freshman year. But I have so much more now, and for that I am so thankful.