After move in day freshmen year, I was left in a very interesting situation. Mom and Dad were gone, all the new students were getting settled with their new homes and roommates. However, I didn’t have a roommate yet. The roommate I was assigned had come to Graceland early for athletics pre-season, and decided that this wasn’t the place for him. So, until Residence Life found me a new match (which would take weeks and would ultimately result in different story for a different time), I was on my own in Cheville room #207. And this was absolute bliss… for about five hours. I was told there was a chance there would be nobody to move in with me, so I would have my own room, my own space – which is awesome. However, as I sat there alone and got my room set up, the reality of the situation began to set in. “Well, who do I talk to?” I thought to myself. I wasn’t just going to go knock on somebody else’s door and just assume they want to hang. So, for the time being, I was left alone. This was my ultimate worst fear about moving to college: Moving from Canada. Leaving all my friends at home. Not being able to make new friends. – This was all becoming very, very real.
When 5 p.m. came, the rest of the hall began congregating for dinner. Roommates sat together, those who knew each from high school or Spec began forming groups. Then there was me. While I was sitting with the group, I didn’t feel involved or belonging in any way, so I sat and ate in relative silence, emoting when appropriate. After dinner there was an icebreaker for freshmen students, which is of course, horribly awkward.
But immediately after that, a breakthrough happened. While walking back the dorms, another Cheville “House” member caught up with me an invited me to hang out with the rest of the guys and play video games for the night. He was my Intermural Rep for the House, so I had met him earlier while moving in. I eagerly agreed and joined a group of five to seven guys just hanging out, all getting to know each other. I felt comfortable and at home. I made friends; guys I would eventually call some of my best friends. Guys who, two years later, I would rent a house with.
In a lot of different ways, I think without that one student I wouldn’t of had the same “Graceland Experience.” I probably would have stuck to being quiet and hiding out in my room. But now that I have gotten to be a part of the group, I had no problem hanging out with everybody.
So to returning students, and especially those who will be on House Council, one person, one action, can be the entire difference for a new student. Don’t be afraid to reach out and be that one. It could make all the difference to one lonely, scared freshman.
Carter Chapley ’17