Reflections on NSW: Awkward moments lead to bonding
    Freshmen walk in a pack to the picnic last Sunday. (Photo by Tom Giratikanon / North by Northwestern.)

    Within an hour of setting foot on the Northwestern University campus for Wildcat Welcome Week, I made one of the paramount “freshman mistakes”: I brought a box (or four) too many. I fondly remember being quite embarrassed as I watched the New Student Week helpers drag my heavy boxes full of random and unnecessary pieces of my life up three flights of stairs to my dorm room.

    Other random mistakes occurred throughout the week, including my decision to wear my purple flip-flops religiously, despite the blisters forming on my feet, and the time I accidentally ate from a buffet at a professional Medill banquet when I was actually supposed to go to another room for a pizza party. Luckily, though, I realized that other freshmen made those same mistakes. And in an odd way, we were able to bond through our mutually awkward experiences.

    I have discovered a lot during this past week, such as the beauty of a free Chipotle burrito, or how to get myself locked out of my dorm. I have also realized that all of my basic needs can be met by one glorious store, CVS pharmacy. During the day, I was impressed by the Essential NUs – rather than preaching against alcohol and sex, Northwestern encouraged us to use good judgment.

    To my surprise, the social events during Wildcat Welcome were a lot of fun, albeit sometimes in awkward ways. I vividly remember loving the Lifehouse concert and Tom DeLuca’s hypnotism show, and I will forever cherish the memory of engaging in sweaty dancing and questionable grinding with other freshmen at Rock the Beach. Once again, the sheer awkwardness allowed us to laugh at ourselves and at each other.

    My lifestyle has changed dramatically since coming to NU. Most noticeably, I no longer have the luxury of watching reruns of America’s Next Top Model; and checking Facebook for 14 hours every day. Nor can I sit and enjoy four daily home-cooked meals at my discretion. Instead, during New Student Week I transformed into a walking machine, attending Essential NUs and meetings during every waking moment of my day, stopping in the nearest cafeteria to wolf down a quick meal before trekking up to SPAC for the work study job fair. It may have been exhausting, but at the same time, now that I have undergone the metamorphosis from summer bum to busy student, I feel like a full-fledged college kid.

    The mistakes, the epiphanies and the experiences during New Student Week all have one thing in common – I’ve loved them. Yes, it has been an exhausting time, but during this week of lectures and free handouts, I feel that I have already made the friends who will give me my sanity during finals week, and I am confident that I can walk to most buildings on campus without getting lost more than twice.

    After enduring a very busy week, I feel ready and proud to be a student at Northwestern. And most importantly, I can’t wait to brag to my high school friends about how close I am to the lake. Yes, I think this is going to be a good year.


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