Dear new students,
I hope you’re enjoying orientation at IU. Orientation is a rite of passage. I know because four years ago I was in the same spot you’re in now.
I don’t want to scare you, but orientation did not set the tone for me. My orientation tale was, I’m sure, something similar to a lot of people’s experience at IU for the first time.
I was really excited. I had confirmed my orientation dates online, and my father booked the flights for us. Unfortunately, he found out he had to work that weekend, and I ended up flying to Indiana with my mother. You don’t know my mother, but she hates airplanes and she hates driving.
After this trip, I’m pretty sure she hated me.
There aren’t Boeing 747 flights to Indianapolis from New Jersey. So the airplane we boarded had one seat on one side and two on the other. When those babies take off, they shake in the wind. It’s scary. Imagine having your mother sitting next to you, holding onto your fragile arm clinging for her life.
We touched down in Indianapolis, safely might I add, and rented a car. Driving in New Jersey is different. You have to drive 85 mph to keep up with traffic. In Indiana, you don’t. It worked out because my mother doesn’t know what a gas pedal is.
I checked into Wright Quad to sleep for the night and then made my merry way to all of the activities. It was pouring rain that entire weekend and I was ill-equipped. I was having fun, but then my mother disappeared.
Instead of staying in the dorms for parents, she checked into the Indiana Memorial Union. She had a spacious one-bed hotel room while I was in a dorm room that looked like a jail cell.
The rain kept pouring, and I was getting aggravated because I didn’t have an umbrella, my mother was MIA and I just wanted to register for classes and leave.
The last night I stayed in Wright, I ran across the quad into the main building to use the Internet, and somehow I managed to drop my cell phone. It was raining, my mother was MIA and now I had no cell phone. I had to ask a complete stranger to borrow their phone so I could find mine.
I found it 30 minutes later under a pile of wet leaves. It did not work.
So once again, my phone was destroyed, my mother was MIA and I was angry. I went into the bathroom and used the electric dryer to dry my phone out. It worked enough to dial out to my mother, but I couldn’t see the screen. She told me she’d come get me first thing in the morning.
The next morning she told me she wanted Burger King and knew where it was. Well, I didn’t know where it was, and when we went to look for it, she couldn’t find it.
“Well, Sara,” she said, “this is your school, you should know where it is.” Mom, are you serious?
We flew back that day. I was disappointed I had such a miserable time. But after four years, I realize orientation isn’t supposed to sum up your college career.
Take orientation for what it is – a starting point to find yourself and getting acclimated to your home for the next four or five years. You’re going to love IU, so hold on tight to your cell phones and relax because the best has yet to come. (College will also make you cliche.)
P.S. My mom and I never ate Burger King that day, but I can tell her where it is now in a heartbeat.
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