“What’s your name, hometown and major?” For the first week at Northwestern, every conversation is an endless cycle of these three questions, and it’s okay. These are important when I’m meeting dozens of new people. In a few days, some of them will become my lifeline. Together, we will eat, hang out, discuss our ideal schedules, and bond over the fact that none of us have any clue what we’re doing. Again, this is okay.

Before coming to Northwestern, my older brother told me there was truly nothing I could do to prepare myself for the amount of change I would undergo in my first weeks of college. Naturally, he was right. I hopped off the bus after my pre-Wildcat Welcome trip, somehow expecting to go back and continue life at home in Maryland, but seeing my parents with a loaded car of all my belongings, reality hit. “Home” was now a room with a potential friend and a twin extra long bed. Still, it was okay. Soon after my dorm was organized, I had my first dining hall experience and fell asleep ready for the week of activities ahead.

Heading into Deering Meadow on the first day of Wildcat Welcome is a phenomenon in and of itself. Along the perimeter of the grassy knoll were hundreds of purple signs with peer advising group numbers, and because I had entered the far end, my group was across the way. I pushed past the crowd  and found myself in the open expanse of the field, for the first time realizing that I was on my own; and, surprisingly, that it felt okay. After meeting a small group of students in my major and my wonderful peer advisor, the week went full steam ahead. We experienced the Chicago Field Museum, scheduling classes, our first home tailgate and football game, work-study and student group applications, dancing in Target, and a Wildcat only trip to Six Flags.

After ten days of what seemed like non-stop activities, I was more than ready for classes to start. By the end of the first day, I honestly could not describe what had just happened to me, but after that first few days I naturally got a grasp on things and classes became more enjoyable than I could have imagined.

This week was my third week of school and when people ask me how college is, I tell them it’s going well. What I don’t tell them is how much joy it brings me to study with my floormates, to rehearse with my a capella group, and to bike past the Lakefill while the falling leaves make campus look like something out of a magazine. Somewhere amidst all the changes in the past few weeks I have made a life for myself where I truly enjoy all that I do. Because of this, I couldn’t be more thankful to be at a school where the craziest transition of my life could feel right.

–Teresa De Pinto



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