Nervousness and excitement. That is what I felt as I packed the car for the second time this past summer to venture to my new home, Hawk Hill. I knew I was excited to start my journey at SJU, but I could not understand why I was so nervous. I had already attended the Summer Hawks Program as a way to get acclimated to the college environment before the fall semester. Also, Orientation had calmed any fears I had. So why was I still nervous? As my family and I drove away from the place I called home for 18 years, it was then that I had the realization that this was the real deal! It was no longer a trial. I decided that I would embrace my first semester journey and my freshmen year with the “Why not?” attitude!
The next day, I helped my fellow classmates and dorm mates move into my dorm, McShain. This was when I met my roommate for the first time. My nerves disappeared that day and haven’t come back since!
I went head first into the SJU community as I made friends, joined clubs, and went to classes. I have had so many great experiences in my first semester and have learned more about myself through opportunities that I have had both on and off campus. Here are a few things that I have experienced thus far:
- Landing my first “official” job as an office assistant in the Student Leadership and Activities (SLA) Office.
- Rock climbing for the first time with the Student Union Board (SUB) and conquering my fear of heights.
- Successfully campaigning to be one of our class’s representatives on Student Senate (with the help of my new friends!).
- Entering a middle school classroom for my field experience for the first time as a future teacher and realizing this is the profession for me.
- Connecting with my classmates, upperclassmen, and with God on two different retreats, Road Trip and Ignite, offered exclusively for freshmen.
- Presenting in front of the faculty and staff about the use of audiobooks for students with dyslexia.
- Realizing the many support systems available to students on campus.
- Joining our booster club, 54th Airborne, and cheering on our men’s and women’s basketball teams
- Hearing the Governor of Pennsylvania’s newest Chief of Staff, Katie McGinity ’85, speak on leadership.
- Witnessing a Holocaust survivor and a liberator discuss their experiences in a talk hosted by the History Department.
- Exploring how the Civil Rights Act has affected the United States from a historical, economic, sociological, and political point of view through a presentation hosted by multiple departments.
All of these experiences have allowed me to grow as a person. The Jesuit ideal of magis is all about living greater. As a freshman, you will have so many opportunities to do just that! Whether it is by joining a club, going to hear a talk on campus, exploring Philly, or participating in weekly community service, you will begin to find yourself and learn more about the greater world we live in. All this can happen during your first semester!
In order to have a great start to your college career, sometimes you just need to stand back and say “Why not?” You never know when you may fall in love, like I did two summers ago with this community! #THWND
Will Marsh is a freshman from Rahway, New Jersey. Will is studying History and Secondary Education here on Hawk Hill. He is involved in Student Senate, 54th Airborne, Pennsylvania State Education Association, and is an office assistant in the Student Leadership and Activities Office. He is very excited to see what the next three and half years will hold for him at SJU!