Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What do rugby and highlighter dances have in common?

Besides the fact that both took place in the first two weeks of my time at St. Mike's, absolutely nothing. It has definitely been a busy two weeks, as is evidenced by my general absence from my blog. (sorry, it won't happen again!) Let me explain what's been going on.

Classes began on Monday the 29th, and unlike high school, they get right down to business. Oh great, you may say, there must be a ton of homework that a college freshman is completely unprepared for, right? False! In my experience so far, professors understand the feeling of panic that can be associated with beginning college classes. They take their time introducing coursework and usually start off with a couple of days worth of notes or class activities. (dreaded ice breakers). It is definitely worth noting though that any attentive student will notice a difference between the demeanors of college professors and high school teachers. Though I am certainly not claiming that passionate high school teachers do not exist, there is an over riding sense that college professors are truly engaged and immersed in their specific topic. It is great, both academically and socially, to learn from someone who's entire life is devoted to furthering their own understanding as well as yours in a certain topic. I find subjects in college fascinating that I otherwise would've wanted to sleep through in high school (History of Latin America yaaaawn).

Now rugby. I can honestly say that I never played a sport with as much contact as rugby before. Sure I've played soccer, baseball, and basketball, but never a sport as intense, nonstop, and painful as rugby. It is tough work, with practices for two hours four days a week, but if there was ever a way to fight the freshman 15 and get in great shape, rugby is it. One of the most significant parts of being part of the rugby club is the incredibly strong sense of camaraderie that develops. It is great to go from being one of "the new guys" to being one of "the guys" in a matter of weeks. We practice together, we suffer together, and we celebrate together. Very few things boost morale after a tough loss like singing "happy birthday" at the top of your lungs with your entire team for one of the seniors. Rugby has been a great experience for me so far and drives me to encourage every single incoming freshman to at least consider partaking in an extracurricular activity. You will meet people you otherwise would never talk to, you will learn new things, push your own social and even physical boundaries, and most of all have fun!

Saint Mike's is a fantastic school in both academics and with people. I have loved every minute of it here and look forward to the rest of my time here. I hope some of you are convinced to join this community as well.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Orientation. What's there to worry about?

I'm sitting here in my hotel room the day before move-in at St. Mike's and admittedly, I'm a bit nervous. Only 16 short hours from now, I'll be unloading all of my stuff with the help of a small army or RA's and Orientation Leaders. So why be nervous?

It's only natural to feel slightly apprehensive prior to starting college. It is a new lifestyle, free of the constrictive lifestyle set by parents and high school. So moving on to the college life, where you are expected to set your owns rules, can be daunting at times. How then, if this fear of the unknown is a universal experience for all incoming freshman, should you deal with it?

Most importantly, don't be afraid to put yourself out there. I'm usually a pretty talkative and outgoing guy, but have been known in the past to clam up and withdraw when encountering new people and new situations. Every bit of advice I have heard leading up to tomorrow is that you absolutely should NOT shut yourself off from others. Everyone else will be in the same boat as you. We are all going to be nervous and desperate to find new friends and establish a comfort zone. but first, join activities, be outspoken in your Orientation Group, and everything will be golden.

If all else fails, just take a deep breath and push yourself through the day. As I look back and read my own advice for tomorrow, I still can't help but feel that familiar stomach knotting. All I can hope, same with all of you, is that Orientation and these first few days of getting used to college life will be as awesome as St. Mike's is known to be!

Good luck everyone,