Wednesday, July 31, 2013

For the First Time

Anyone watching Suits on the USA Network? Good, mindless fun. Last week, the episode found an
Associate at the law firm in conversation with a Partner talking about a classic movie that he hadn't seen.  Louis looks at him and boldly states, "You're lucky. You get to see it for the first time."

Isn't that so true. Really great movies can move us in remarkable ways. (Last week's post was about that kind of movie.) You know that moment where you are certain that you have to drag someone else there so you can watch them experience it. I had a similar moment the first time I took my oldest daughter to Disneyland. There is something about fresh eyes seeing something.

A new semester is upon us. Soon hundreds of new freshmen and transfers will join our community. As I consider all that they will experience during their first year as Toreros and their introduction to fraternity and sorority life, I have the same feeling as Louis and want to say to them, "You're lucky. You get to see it for the first time." Recruitment events, learning about new friends, developing the bond of brotherhood, learning the secret rituals of sorority, seeing for the first time what a family away from your family can be.

I joined my sorority 2 weeks before my first semester began. I went through the formal recruitment process, was matched and then headed home to pack up everything. That week at home was good for me. It was a chance to think about all of the people I had met during the process. Honestly, it filled me with a sense of wonder. I was excited for all that was to come when I returned to campus as a freshmen. Finding my classes, learning to navigate the book stacks and find my texts in the bookstore, and figuring out the rhythm of a new roommate that I did not know. These were all firsts that I encountered. Deeper than that, though, was learning what it meant to be in a sorority. Knowing that the friends I made in my new member class were women that I would live with and spent much of my time with for the next 4 years. I remember coming back my sophomore, junior and senior year - the excitement was there, too, but it was for the familiar. There is something ever so special about that first moment.

I often teach a section of the Emerging Leaders course in the fall. We start the first day off with introductions and then I ask, "How many of you are experiencing your first college class right now?" I know, corny. But, there are always a handful that raise their hand. For them, I invite the class to pause. I ask them to look around, take in the classroom, look who is seated in here, and breathe deep. I share with them that, "Never again will you have this moment of starting college. This is a marker moment. One to remember. Take it in and hold onto that feeling." Because they are freshmen and a little uncertain, they all do it. But, there is always at least one who "gets it". They get a little twinkle in their eye and smile. They are the luckiest ones. They understand that they are experiencing it for the first time.

No comments:

Post a Comment