Before I arrived on campus last month, I thought I had a definite idea of what my life would be like during preseason and beyond. Not to say that I had rehearsed this new situation in my head over and over; rather, in the course of preparing myself for this new chapter — whether it be purchasing my bed sheets, filling out my student loans or doing my runs over the summer — I had formed an image in my head of what I thought Evanston, Northwestern and even my dorm room would be like, thus rearranging my expectations to match this self-prophesized description.
I was completely wrong. While at the time of its conception, the picture in my mind seemed to be all that anyone could ask for from a college experience, the reality that has been slowly unraveling these past three weeks is so much better than I could have ever obsessively imagined. Sure, reality has its downfalls. Although biking to practices and meals in the pouring rain never seemed to have a place in my pre-freshman “plans,” the situation has not failed to present itself. In this same manner, I never imagined air-conditioning-less nights corrupting my sleep, or occasional weekend campus repairs causing me so many cold showers.
But while those realities had remained absent in my thoughts during the weeks before my arrival, so did the thought of an exciting, though tiring, team excursion into downtown Chicago, a lazy afternoon spent with teammates at the campus beach, or a few quiet hours at the Lakefill with my nose in a book. And just as much as I never imagined all that as ever being part of the Northwestern package, I had yet to realize the expansiveness of Evanston’s dining offerings as wells as its trendy shopping opportunities both in town and (albeit a long bike ride) at Old Orchard Mall.
Frankly though, while my initial expectations forecasted smooth sailing from here until graduation, as Welcome Week nears and the expected turmoil of orientation and initiation unravels, I find it hard to believe (and at times a little daunting to accept) that in less than two weeks, we freshman will have to sign our name to all the Northwestern “talk” that has amplified our summer.
It will soon be time to stop planning and start doing; time to start making our own name here and to begin fulfilling the expectations that we permitted Northwestern to set for us, when we all vied for our spots here last fall.