As I drive back onto campus for the first time in the new academic year, I am overwhelmed with a feeling of familiarity and of returning home. It feels strange to be back. I have been away for an entire summer but it feels like I never left at all. I park my car and pick up the key to my room this year. I live in Smith House, which is in central campus across the street from Shain Library and the College Center at Crozier-Williams (Cro).
It is really nice being able to pick where you live on campus each year. I personally prefer to live in central campus because of its location and the older architectural style buildings. I text some friends letting them know that I am back on campus asking if anyone wants to help me move in. Within minutes a few friends show up and begin to help me with my stuff. I really appreciate the help since my parents were not able to help me this year with move-in. It is really nice to see my friends again after the long summer break. We catch up, talking and walking, which helps make the work easier. One of my friends asks some first-years who live in her building to help me lift some of my heavier things. This is a great way to meet new students at Conn and people are willing to help you out if you ask. After all my stuff is in my room, I go get dinner with some friends in Harris, the main dining hall on campus. I see a lot of familiar faces and catch up with people about their summers. It does feel weird to be back and not see some of my friends who are abroad this semester but I know that I will have my friends who are still on campus and I am able to talk to my friends who are abroad on the phone and through Facebook.
For me, there is usually an adjustment period when returning to campus after any long break. While Conn is very familiar to me and I think of it as a second home it can still be difficult to get back into academic mode from the summer. It can also take some getting used to being back in a house (what we call residence hall) on campus. Living at home does have its perks but it is nice living close to your friends and getting to know new people who also live in the building. I usually like to introduce myself to people I don’t know. It can be really helpful to know the people on your floor especially if you want to ask for any help or advice. I usually try to get on campus on the first move-in day for upper-class students because it is really beneficial to have the extra day before classes start to get your room organized how you like it. It can be stressful if your room isn’t organized and you are busy with classes and activities. I have heard a lot of faculty and staff saying “welcome home” to returning students and I think that this phrase really captures the feeling of coming back to campus. While it does get easier the more times you do it, it always takes some getting used to.