By Owen Barr, Guest Writer
On my high school graduation day, after the ceremony, I remember my first thought being, “Well, where do I go from here?” It’s a question that I’m sure many of my fellow Xavier classmates had upon their high school graduations. “Daunting” was perhaps the best word to describe the feeling, at least for me.
There were so many conflicting feelings and emotions that swirled through me in the months leading up to Manresa, so many questions. What was dorm life going to be like? Would my roommate like me? Would I be able to find clubs that fit my interests? These are just a few questions that I’m sure many of us asked ourselves at one point or another. As the date of move-in drew ever closer, I became increasingly concerned about what lay ahead.
When move-in day eventually arrived, my heart beat became faster the closer I approached campus. I was relieved then, when upon my approach, my car was met with cheers and applause.
As I stepped out of my car, any feelings of alienation I had quickly dissipated. My presence was celebrated. I was taken aback. People I had never met excited to see me? The mere thought of it baffled me.
They descended upon my car, carrying my belongings up three flights of stairs to my room. I climbed the stairs with both dread and excitement. I entered my room, the walls sparse and uninviting. As the Manresa staff set my things inside my room, they said to me, “Welcome home.” I cracked a warm smile at that; I supposed I was home.
I was struck by how welcoming the staff was during move-in and throughout Manresa. Even though these people knew nothing about me or my journey through life, they immediately treated me as though I was part of the Xavier family. When the dust had eventually settled, I stood alone in my dorm room. I had finally made it. The anticipation of waiting to be here was over.
However, the anticipation of meeting people and making new friends remained.
After Mass, my parents left. For a time, I was left completely alone in a foreign place. The moment of isolation was scary, but it passed quickly. Soon after, I met my Manresa small group. While the mood of the room was awkward at first, it didn’t take long for us to grow more accustomed to one another. Finally, after months of anticipation, I met friends, and I felt truly at home.
The expectations one has will always seem greater when compared to reality. When it comes to college, what someone believes influences their experience far more than what they see. It can be hard for first-years to make the transition to college, especially with the massive expectations that come with going to college. We can be thankful, therefore, that Xavier treats first-years as members of the family from the start.
Many other schools like to tout how welcoming they are, and while I can’t speak to that from experience, I do find it hard to believe after experiencing the welcome that Xavier provided me and my class. I am thankful for the hospitality that Xavier extended to my family as well.
First impressions mean a lot, especially regarding college. I had many expectations about Xavier: some good, some not so good. I’m not sure what expectations I did have, but I remember the general feeling of anticipation and eagerness. There was also the feeling of apprehension and terror that came with meeting new people and moving away from home. However, I had soon found that I had no reason to be apprehensive.
While I still miss home and my family, I have made so many new friends. The reality of attending Xavier has been far more amazing than I could have imagined.