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Reflecting on my First Year at Dickinson

For me, leaving home for college was definitely the most difficult part of the transition to college life. When I left home, I also left behind people who had been my closest friends for my entire life, my family. Yet through participating in one of Dickinson pre-orientation adventures, I was able to easily adjust to being away from home. The Creative Writing Experience led by my wonderful first mentor was a brilliant experience because while I was delighting in one of my favorite hobbies, creative writing, I was also able to be introduced to people who I would become very close friends with. Since I was able to enjoy myself the entire time during my pre-o experience, I focused less upon missing home and more upon my time at college. At first I greatly worried about the entire making friends situation because at first introductions, I consider myself to be a highly introverted person. Yet at Dickinson, that issue held little to no significance to me because I knew over time my confidence towards interacting with people would soon increase.

Of course I was deeply saddened when pre-orientation was over, but I was happy to learn that I would be able to do my first volunteering project at Dickinson with my pre-o group since I had already grown so close with some of its members. Yet it was during that volunteering session when I learnt a highly important lesson from my first year mentor. Our volunteering project involved renovating a rundown church located near the college and even though I was highly enthusiastic about doing it at first, all the enthusiasm was drained when I read the welcoming sign posted behind the front doors: “Welcome Dickinson Slaves Students”. It wasn’t until towards the end of the volunteering session when the issue involving the sign was discussed between my first year mentor and the church leader. Even though my first year mentor was outraged about the selection of the words to greet a group of first year students, she managed to maintain a cool attitude the entire time she discussed how those words not only disparaged her family’s history but African American history in general. The pastor was jokingly trying to connect slavery and volunteer work when slavery was an institution that terribly divided families and dehumanized a race that was not different from other races. Through her calm selection of words, my first year mentor demonstrated to me that as long as a person persistently fights for what he or she believes in, that person doesn’t need to be the louder one in an argument to be the one who wins it.

I was happy to know that I was able to share some of my classes with my pre-o group after a last minute switch. Yet with growing confidence gained from my volunteering experience with my orientation group, I was able to forge new friendships with other people who were in my classes. My list of friendships is still growing as I am continuing to discover what it truly means to be a Dickinsonian and how to make the next four years mine. At the academic fair I joined numerous clubs, but if I truly want to make an impact on this campus and leave my mark here, then I will be spending my time in a smaller number of clubs so that I do not overcommit myself and lead another solitary life outside of school. I want to have friends with whom I can share friendly chats with because even though my next goal is to make it into a medical school, I wish to share my journey with a group of people whom I can finally call my friends.

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