I came to Rocky with no friends, no family, and a vague idea of what my life as a college student might be like. Orientation fixes the first, gets you started on repairing the second problem, and changes what you thought you knew about the third.
Most people seem to cling to what they know and are scared silly by the idea that they will be “alone”. The truth is, ya, you are alone, but you are alone with 300 other people in the same boat. This total lack of relationships pretty much forces you to, at the very minimum, pretend that you actually want to meet another human being. Luckily the majority of people put more effort into building new friendships than the bare minimum. I met so many new people that I had their life stories coming out my nose; you can’t even remember half of the names you are told, even after spending 3 days around them. But you do what you can, because you realize that most of them are doing the same.
Another thing you realize is how much some of these random strangers seem to look like people you know back home. Like this guy from Sweden or something that just looks like my high school classmate Ryan. Or this girl Cynthia (not Cindy!) whose face appears to be quite similar to that of my dance buddy, Alyssa. It is both weird and comforting having these “familiar faces” around.
I had expected that most of the people I connected with would be horse people, but that was totally ridiculous of me, I should have known better. Of course I have a herd of fellow equestrians, but there are also teaching majors, an art major, a geology major, and a couple of others. Even in high school and junior high I was friends with different groups of people and then had a more core group of close friends. I’m not sure who the close friends will be yet, but I feel blessed to be getting to know all of the people who I do. Those will be the people who will be my family here as the years go on. And just like at home, I will probably have more than one family. There will be the horse family, who I can ask for riding advice and support (more of a working family). Then there will probably also be one of people who I go to for more basic emotional and relational help. It could turn out that the two blur together in a couple of places even. And even though I have no idea who my close friends will be yet, I have no doubt that I have an amazing base to build on.
It was my impression that classes would be different and similar in some ways to those from my past, the thing is though that I had them mixed up. In high school I knew that my teachers had friends among the other faculty, in college you see just how close they may actually be. An example would be my Art History teacher and my English teacher. I had one class right after the other in the same building, and during both classes both teachers were present in the room. They related memories and recognized information that the opposite knew, just like real people. Which was something that they verbally emphasized in their classes; that we should try to make sure that we treat them like humans, not like some other species that we couldn’t build a more natural relationship with. I think that I kind of knew this in high school since I ate lunch with one of my teachers almost every day and got to know her better, but I never realized it to such an extent that I have today.
There is so much more to learn in college than just what your teachers have on the syllabus.