The First Step

By Courtney Steele

csteele@smu.edu

Walking up the stairs to the Hughes-Trigg Student Center that summer, a huge “Welcome New Mustangs” banner hung above the entrance, I was terrified. The time had finally arrived, AARO (academic advising registration and orientation) was here and it was time to embark on a journey I knew very little about, and a journey that would continually surprise, amaze and astound me. But I had the most incredible support system by my side for this new journey. Between the girl and her mom standing next to me and my parents who had already supported me through every happy and hard time in my life, I hope I was ready.

The day before, in the lobby of the Hilton Park Cities, I had met my new best friend who was getting ready to embark on the same journey. She immediately became the girl I cried to, the girl that my family welcomed in (I always wanted a sister), the girl whose family I joined (she always did too), the girl I went to Billy Bobs with, the girl that I went to the midnight premiere of the Justin Bieber movie with and the girl who started our pasta and rolls weekend dinner tradition. This crossing of paths taught me very early on that you never know where life will take you, who will come into your life and what you’ll learn along the way.

Walking up those stairs an instant later, it didn’t feel so scary, it felt right, more right than I could have imagined. SMU welcomed us all in with open arms and from that moment forward, we became Mustangs for life. My family immediately expanded and I was firmly planted in my home away from home. As my time at SMU winds down, I look at that moment as a pivotal moment. We learned about everything SMU, the traditions, the classes I would be taking, what to expect that first week of school, but most importantly we had reconfirmed that I had made the right decision.

As the college decision is looming and your senior year is winding down, remember a piece of advice that I had a hard time accepting (and maybe still do) – it will work out. I hope that SMU is the place for you, but moreover I hope that you have that feeling of serenity, calm and confidence in your decision that I felt standing on those stairs at AARO in 2008. Pony up!

About Courtney Steele

STU UnGrad
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