September 12, 2009

Welcome Home, '13s

Home is a concept we all long to know well, something we all wish we had. And most of us do, in some way or another. Some of us are even lucky enough to find a true home, somewhere we are always welcome and happy and at peace.

Today was not one of those days when I was at peace. Today was tumultuous, gut-clenching, heart-wrenching. I lugged all of my belongings up four flights of stairs, unpacked my life into my new room, looked around and tried to adjust to the fact that I'm going to be here for a while. And I will adjust. I'm going to love it here, and I do, and this is my new home... And I think it may even be my true home.

I'm referring, of course, not to my dorm room but instead to all of Dartmouth, and Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. And I realize I know very little about this place I'm starting to call home. But I was walking down the street today (predictably part of a 'shmob)  and I saw some other '13s across the street showing yet more freshies the Salty Dog. And I don't care if it's mostly just a freshman thing and if it's danced most at Trips... what matters to me is that for a moment there I felt part of something bigger, something bigger and comforting and beautiful. And isn't that how home's supposed to feel?

Later on, I was wandering around again (still part of a slightly smaller 'shmob, I'm afraid) and a rather nice-looking older couple stopped to speak with me. They were visitors, wanting to know why the campus seemed so empty. I explained that classes wouldn't start for a few more days. They smiled, thanked me, asked what I was going to study, and bid me adieu... But as they turned away, that feeling hit me again. This was my new home...

I realize this little essay of mine screams freshman naivete; but behind the cliche there is a certain amount of truth. We young '13s coming to college for the first time are not only finding an education here, but also a home. We'll learn a lot as we go along and by senior year we might even dare to call it our turf as well... For now, I'll stick to asserting my intuition that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Though we freshmen may be queasy at the thought of leaving what was our home, though older and wiser upperclassmen may scoff at our wide-eyed excitement, though the next few days may well be the most nerve-racking of our lives so far... As the sign over the DOC trip office reads, "Welcome home, '13s."

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