Out With Awkward, In With The New

Kelsey Rettke and her parents get awkward during new student days. PHOTO BY KELSEY RETTKE

By Kelsey Rettke

New Students Days at Beloit can be summed up in a number of different ways: “It was fun!” “It was exhausting.” “It was new and exciting!” But I can think of a perfect one on which, I’m sure, each and every freshman can agree: It was awkward.

Putting awkward people with other awkward people who are all nervously thinking “Am I going to make friends?” or “Where do I sit in Commons without looking like I’m eating alone?” just creates more awkwardness.

First came Move-in Day, full of parents, hugging, boxes and heavy lifting. People offering to carry stuff up to rooms were met with awkward thank-yous or an awkward moment of silence when I couldn’t get my key to open my door. Not to mention that awkward point during the welcome session in Eaton Chapel when the president asked all the parents to leave. Or that first FYI meeting when I was silently hoping that we weren’t going to talk about the summer reading yet because I still hadn’t finished.

The rest of the week was then filled with various meetings where awkward ice-breakers did nothing to help me make friends. I’ve come to realize that the long and tedious process of building relationships needs to be spontaneous. In other words, when the
entirety of the class of ’15 was running around the Sports Center trying to find other people who shared the same interests in movies, there was no way I was going to make any long–lasting relationships. It was just too awkward.

The best place to make friends that week was during meals. Just sit with someone, eat quietly, wonder if you chew too loudly and exchange phone numbers. That’s how it worked. Spontaneous, random friend- finding. Kind of like Facebook, but in real life.

Perhaps the worst part of that entire week was the job-hunting. Work study sucks, so standing in line for three hours hoping to get a job mopping floors or doing dishes was just loads of fun, as you can imagine.

But to get serious for a moment—we all know the most important thing in college is to learn. We’re all here, ultimately, for academics. Right? Sure. But I think it’s important to remember that college is a time for changes, new relationships and new memories.

Yes, we all are finally free of the parental nagging and the eyebrow-raising and fighting. And yes, we love our independence and ability to do whatever we want, whenever we want, but it’s no fun if we do it alone. Without any kind of familiarity, life can
become a bit depressing.

So perhaps the biggest thing that New Students Days brought to my budding college career was friends. People with whom I can hang around and not feel insanely awkward. Ones who, while I still may not know them all very well, nor them me, bring
a sense of familiarity to my life.

Because that’s what New Student Days was about for me: learning to leave the familiar behind for a new sense of ease, a new status quo with new old friends and new homes and new lives.



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