St. Olaf Sentiments

The first week of college is a bit like the first day of preschool.

You say goodbye to your parents, and that’s a little sad, maybe even a little terrifying, but then you turn and see something far more exciting than your parents: the sandbox.

And suddenly, it’s like your parents never even existed.

You hurl yourself exuberantly into the sandbox and immediately conclude to yourself: this is the best thing that ever happened to you – ever. The sandbox is amazing, it’s different, exciting, full of new sights and smells, new toys, and even some new friends. And though it may be a little hot and uncomfortable, and ever-so-itchy in some places, nothing can change your mind. This sandbox is like the biggest, most exciting adventure of your life, and it has all started today.

My first week, from the very first moment I arrived on campus, has been an overwhelming kaleidoscope of awe, trepidation and excitement. The action here never stops, whether you are at the Pause on a Saturday night, or just hanging in the dorm with friends. It was one experience in particular, however, that truly made the biggest impression on me. Last week, I attended my first football game. That statement alone should tell you how I feel about sports: I am by no means an expert of the game, or even a “big fan.”

That quickly changed when I experienced the camaraderie and kinship I felt alongside my fellow Oles on that sweltering September afternoon. After each touchdown, I couldn’t help but stand up and cheer, a collection of students, professors and old alumni roaring up to join me every time. The best part, however, was always the fight song. No matter how terribly off-pitch, no matter how many words we didn’t know or had forgotten, me and my tiny group of first years would each enthusiastically raise our fists in pride and sing as loudly as possible, as if we too, had been here for two years, or three, or even four.

It was at this moment, looking around at the grinning faces of my new friends, when I realized that I could find a place here, among this exciting new group of people, in this exhilarating sandbox that was well on its way to becoming my home.