Senior recalls thrill, nerves of arriving on campus for the first time
Move-in day my freshmen year feels like it was just yesterday.
Although it was three years ago, I remember vividly driving the 17 hours from Maine to Marietta with my mom, three of my siblings, and me—along with all of my belongings packed into our van. It was at least 90 degrees when we carried my belongings from the very crowded freshmen quad to the third floor of Marietta Hall, while dodging hundreds of other freshmen doing the same.
A few weeks from the time I write this, I will move onto Marietta College’s campus for the last time. This year, my home will be in Fayerweather Hall—a modernized residence hall that provides me my own air conditioning. My three previous years of college life have taught me how make the most out of storage containers so I’ll have a thing or two to teach the incoming freshmen that I help during the Aug. 19 Move-In Day.
Coming from New England, Ohio was a new experience. I left a part of the country I was familiar with and called home for 18 years for an opportunity outside of my comfort zone. So it was off to the Midwest where I knew no one. No family, no friends and NO OCEAN!
Luckily for me, my trepidation faded quickly. Sure, I had to get used to people calling soda “pop” and sneakers “tennis shoes.” But the thing about Marietta College is that you are constantly meeting people and making connections. Students come from all around the world and are united through The Long Blue Line.
In my first two weeks of college I met my best friend (Amanda Jeffers), who by chance was my roommate. She will be rooming with me for my senior year.
Marietta makes the transition from high school to college very simple and as smooth as possible. I came from a small high school. While many consider Marietta College small, it was bigger than what I was used to. I was so busy during orientation there was no time to think about being homesick. Right after orientation I began classes and then fell into my “college routine.”
Though I missed my family, there were a few opportunities to see them. With Family Weekend in September, I got to share with my brothers and sisters what my college life was like. And then during fall break, Thanksgiving and the long winter break, I had plenty of time to spend back home.
As new as Ohio was, college was a brand new experience for me as well.
My Freshman Seminar instructor put a strong emphasis on campus involvement. One thing I learned at Marietta was that a large number of students are actively involved. I went through sorority recruitment and joined a sorority. It was important to me because of how many freshmen and upperclassmen I met in the process. I also joined the College Union Board and became involved by planning the entertainment schedule.
So, my No. 1 piece of advice to incoming students: get involved. There’s plenty to do — varsity athletics, intramurals, fraternities, sororities, clubs and volunteer opportunities in the community. Getting involved in the community is important, as the college makes up a large part of it. I have never seen a college as active in the community as Marietta is with Make a Difference Day and various other volunteer projects. Right from the beginning I was given so many opportunities to become involved.
It is important to seize every opportunity you can. Whether it is a chance to join an organization or just an opportunity to see the annual Sternwheel Festival, take advantage. You never know what memories and experiences you will have. Travel, try new things, befriend your professors, use the resources available, and take a new class in something not related to your major or minor—you never know if it might lead to a future career.
If you have the chance and can fit it in, study abroad somewhere. Studying abroad was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Being in a foreign country where the language was not my first and I knew no one, I became independent very quickly. I learned how to travel on my own and to communicate with those around me. I think being successful on my own taught me my strengths and I owe a lot to Marietta for preparing me.
One huge advantage at Marietta is its small campus. I have been fortunate enough to develop personal relationships with many of my professors. I feel like I get more out of my classes because they are so small. I took one class that only had four students. Every professor I have ever had tried to learn every student’s name and encouraged students to visit during office hours. Even professors I had my freshmen year remember my name and stop to catch up when they see me. Many of the professors have vast experience in their field and are willing to share personal stories with you.
Later this fall I will register for classes for the eighth and final time at Marietta. Every time I look at my transcript it amazes me the long list of classes that I have taken and how much I have learned.
The first time I came to Marietta for a visit I was told that professors would stop and visit with you if they see you around town. That very evening while my mom and I were out to dinner we ran into a professor I had met earlier that day that greeted us and came over to our table. This moment defines the professors of the College. Whether you are out on a first date or just out to eat with some friends, professors will stop and chat.
It seems like just yesterday I was walking up the Christy Mall for the first time. The Mall is a central part of campus. It’s where friends and professors exchange greetings, people mingle before classes and there are paths leading to every building. The campus has changed a lot since my freshmen year—addition of both the Legacy Library and the Anderson Hancock Planetarium—but in many ways I have also changed.
I have spent three years away from home and the part of the country I grew up in. I have become so much more independent, so much more grateful for little things and so much more determined. I have gone back and forth with possible career choices and have a lot of support from the College with whichever I choose to do after my time here. I started Marietta College as an International Business Management major and a Spanish minor. I am going to graduate with degrees in International Business Management and Spanish and minors in Marketing and Journalism. I spent a semester overseas in Spain and have been fortunate enough to earn internships every summer. Most recently, I spent my summer in Marietta honing my marketing writing skills in a professional setting.
College can be the best years of your life and also the fastest. It is a better experience if you make the most out of it. By getting involved and taking every learning and experiential opportunity that has been presented to me, I feel like I’ve totally experienced what college is supposed to be. I have attended conferences, sat in the stands of a Bengals-Browns game with my classmates, traveled to Cedar Point, and witnessed many talented performers come to campus. Marietta provides so many opportunities for students from “Pizza and Politics” to theatre productions and community service days.
I have witnessed the students at Marietta make the most out of their time here. It’s common that as soon as the weather is nice, everyone is outside. The campus is so lively. On any given sunny afternoon it is normal to see groups of students in DU Field or Parsons Field soaking up sun, playing Frisbee or chatting with friends. One of my favorite things to do is sit out on the benches on Christy Mall and eat lunch with friends.
I think thus far I have learned to enjoy my life in college. These past few years have been the fastest of my life, but also the most memorable. I have had so many opportunities to experience different things. I adjusted to Ohio weather and learned that rain boots are a worthy investment. I have come to appreciate the dining hall—where I do not ever have to cook or do my own dishes. I have become grateful for a dorm room where I am not paying for utilities or even cleaning my bathroom, and all my friends are just down the hall. I have embraced naps as an essential aspect to success in college. As I enter my final year as a Marietta College student I plan to make the most out of my senior year and gain as much knowledge as I can before embarking out into the “real world.”