Aug. 30, 2013
I was standing in the hallway of Campbell Residence Hall, hot and sweaty from helping a young lady and her family lug countless boxes, bags and pillows up three flights of stairs, when it hit me. She put her key in the door of that corner room and BAM! All of a sudden I was 18 years old, nervous, excited and a little bit scared, putting my key into that exact same door.
I volunteered last Sunday to help with move-in day and was assigned to Campbell, the same hall I spent my freshman year so many years ago. It had been a fun morning welcoming students and their families, pushing bins, carrying all the things that make a room home up all those stairs. (Really? No one from the first floor was moving in while I was there?)
I also lived on the third floor of Campbell—just a million or so years ago. Of course I had already run down to my room, but it was locked and no one was home. I stood watching this young woman at a different room and that’s when I remembered that, originally, I had been assigned to that very room and she was repeating my history right in front of me. I had been tripled with two sophomores when I first moved to campus. It took a few weeks, but I was eventually able to move just down the hall and around the corner with someone whose roommate never showed up.
I watched Shannon, the new freshman at my old door, with shaking hands, turn the key and step into the same space where I had done that very same thing. I let her family have this special moment together while I remained in the hallway transported back to my own memories. I may have finished college in a less traditional way, but my start as a Spartan began like Shannon’s and thousands of others.
You step into that small room that you will call home and it all becomes real. College. Living away from home. Meeting new people, learning new things, figuring out campus and charting your own path. It’s a pretty crazy feeling I’ve never forgotten and I was grateful I could, for a moment, go back to that time in my life.
I eventually got to visit the room I moved to and spent my freshman year in. Surprisingly, it didn’t look smaller than I remembered, or older or better or worse. The furniture was different (loftable furniture is the best thing ever), the decorations were different, the comforters were different…and yet it was the same. The same tree (much taller) is still outside the window. It turns the most vibrant shade of red in the fall. The room has the same layout, the same window, the same radiator, the same ceiling and walls and, most of all, the same feeling.
I talked with one of the women who lives there now. Coincidentally, or maybe not, she shares the same name as my daughter. I imagine she is experiencing a lot of the same things I had—all of those things that make being a new Spartan a shared experience. There is nothing like your first few weeks as a Spartan—it really is a feeling you never forget.
Lexis Zeidan, a Homecoming Ambassador and a senior communication major, remembers her time as a freshman too. In her Student View, she offers some great practical advice to Spartan freshmen.
Pamela Whitten, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and a professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies & Media, is like me—she loves this time of year. Check out her Faculty Voice where she welcomes students and talks about some cool things going on in her college.
The dean encourages people to reach out to new students, faculty and staff, and help make them feel a part of the Spartan family. I wholeheartedly agree. Being new to campus is exhilarating, but not always easy. Do your part to make everyone’s experience a great one.
Photo of Campbell Hall by Derrick L. Turner