The mother of incoming freshman Connor T. (’22) talks about her son’s decision to attend Saint Joseph’s University and their experience at Freshman Orientation. 

Group photo of incoming freshman on the steps outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Connor with his orientation group at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia? We could not believe our son Connor wanted to go to a school so far away from Scottsdale, Arizona. After he told us he desired to enroll at Saint Joseph’s University, the only thing that we could think about was the distance. Our boy was going to be attending college on the other side of the country in a city and region that seemed so foreign to us. Truth be told, we were scared…very scared. The reality of soon being separated by thousands of miles was frightening. Ultimately, our son had made up his mind that he was going to be a Hawk, and after countless conversations, he had us convinced that it was where he was destined to be. So, nonetheless, we supported his decision, attended Scholar’s Weekend, paid his enrollment fee, and then made our plans for his Freshman Orientation in June!

Although it seemed like an eternity, June arrived quickly. Before we knew it, our plane had touched down in the City of Brotherly Love and we were on our way to devour some authentic cheesesteaks! After commuting to our hotel, we rested, as the next two days were going to be filled with excitement, nerves, and a lot of activities.

The energy and enthusiasm were palpable as soon as we approached the parking garage on campus. The smiles and cheers from all of the Red Shirts along the path to Campion Hall were very welcoming. We said some quick goodbyes and then began the memorable two-day orientation. Connor quickly immersed himself in his orientation group named the “Goldfish” while we attended meetings. The campus leaders thoroughly reviewed every aspect of college life and provided us with information and a sense of peace. We briefly saw our son after the Family Mass and learned he was having a great time! A night apart allowed us to attend the Parents’ Reception and Connor to make friends.

Group photo of incoming freshman dressed in their team color "Goldfish"

Connor with his orientation group on Day 2 at the field games

As the end of orientation approached, we were excited to see our son. He was full of stories and could not stop talking about his experiences. He kept raving over the Risk Management and Insurance major, the opportunity to join the Peer Review Board, and, most importantly, how well he seemed to mesh with his soon-to-be classmates. We were thrilled because we felt the exact same way.

From the very start, everyone made us feel at home. The faculty, guest speakers, and other parents were all so kind and approachable. It was reassuring to know that our son would be part of a community so tight and supportive of each other. My husband and I looked at each other as we were driving down City Avenue and knew that this was the right fit for our son. Although in a few short months we would be empty-nesters, we knew that our little hawk would soar and excel at his new home and new nest – Saint Joseph’s University.