Hello, Hurricane: A Recap of Orientation 2011

I am a college student. I am a college student. I am a college student. These words are stuck on repeat as I take in everything around me. The excitement from every single student around me is tangible, and it’s only elevated by the impending doom that is Hurricane Irene. Our parents have said their good-byes; we pretended to unpack to their satisfaction and now the first goodbyes of our four years have ended.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone was feeling a little nostalgic. But how could we stay that way when there was so much excitement all around us? We had each other – waves of new people to maneuver our way around. We had roommates – the people we were more or less stuck with for the rest of the year. And of course, we had Irene. Honestly, how many people can say they were ushered into their freshman year of college by a hurricane? Not nearly as many as can say they weren’t.

We started with a slideshow. We laughed at each other, at the funny moments caught on camera, at the fabulous comments made. We continued with our new lives by being shut into our dorms until eleven a.m. the next day when we’d all decided that Irene wasn’t actually as bad as she was supposed to be. (Surprise, surprise.) We were torn between being upset that all of our events had been canceled and being happy that we had a Sunday to get completely acclimated, to just chill out before all those scary upperclassmen arrived. (Trust me. Y’all can be kind of intimidating in a, “EVERYONE HERE IS SO TALENTED WHY THE HELL DID ADMISSIONS THINK I COULD GO HERE THERE’S OBVIOUSLY BEEN SOME SORT OF MISTAKE” way.) The week continued with Lube It Up, where everyone started wondering how exactly they could fill a bathtub with spaghetti, and who exactly would WANT to have sex in said spaghetti bathtub. We danced and juggled fire and cheered for everyone who got thrown from the mechanical bull, we watched movies and made friends and hugged when shaking hands became too overdone and stayed up until four in the morning only to get up at eight the next day. We came into ourselves, decided who we wanted to be, what we wanted to be known as and for, we tried to keep track of everyone’s name and ultimately failed at keeping people straight. We had such an intense Saturday night that Katy Perry should’ve written a song about what happened. (I mean, hello, the walls were sweating. Everyone in there looked like they had just been showering fully or semi-clothed. The party got SHUT DOWN because it was just too full of awesome.) We ended with O-Cab, and got even more intimidated by how talented everyone we go to school with is. All in just seven days.

It’s funny thinking about orientation. It was just a week ago, and yet it feels so far away. We talk about all these crazy memories like they were months ago; we’re wistful, wishing to go back to the week of crazy and fun.  I’m sitting here, trying to write this reflection piece on orientation, and it’s hard for me to do, because there was just so much that was vital, so many different events and feelings that I know I’ll remember the minute after this is published and I’ll be kicking myself that I didn’t put it in. But honestly there’s just so much that I don’t even know where to begin. It’s easy to say, “Start at the beginning!” but not as easy to do. I don’t even know where my old life ended and this new, far more fabulous one started. Which is to say I don’t quite know where the beginning, middle and end of this piece is. To be honest I don’t think there is one. Orientation week may be over, but the crazy has just begun.

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Hannah VanDerlaske is an incoming freshman at Sarah Lawrence College. She has lived on a tiny island her whole life, which produced her giant love of reading. She started telling stories when she was four years old, making up magical games for her sister and she to play, and then began writing them down a year later, after she had learned her alphabet. Now, if not ranting and raving in posts on the internet or working on her second novel, Hannah enjoys buying jewelry, watching trashy television, and cuddling with her friends.

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