Summer is rapidly approaching, and I can’t help but reflect upon when I finally made my decision to come to SMU. My father was practically jumping for joy knowing that one of his children decided to attend his alma mater. I, on the other hand was already getting those pre-freshmen nerves beyond belief. My everyday thoughts became a consistent cycle of “Did I make the right decision?” to “What if I don’t make any friends?” to “Why did I decide to go all the way to Texas? I hate flying!” and all the way back to the beginning again. Up until I arrived at SMU, my entire life existed in a small suburb north of New York City. I was terrified that once I left for Texas, my life would be forever changed—which it has been. If you asked me how I felt about this two years ago, you may have seen me shed a tear.
In July of 2014 I packed my bags up for AARO—SMU’s Academic Advising Registration and Orientation for first year students. I managed to push my nervous thoughts as far out of my mind as I could get them… that is until I heard the pilot say “We are now making our final descent into Dallas, Texas!” Upon arriving at campus, my parents had to practically push me out of the car. The next 48 hours consisted of picking classes, sitting in small groups playing icebreakers with students who seemed just as nervous as I was, and sitting in sessions learning about my future at SMU. Sounds like fun, huh? Well actually, it was! Those 48 hours also consisted of me standing behind a father and son who were teasing each other over the fact that they had accidentally worn the same outfit— then proceeding to become best friends with him; having my AARO leader tell me about all of the incredible things SMU had provided for her in only her first year there; and for the first time, feeling like I was finally home. Orientation combatted every single doubt that had previously filled my mind, and instead of dreading the end of summer, I began impatiently waiting for August to arrive.
During my first year, I recognized how much of an impact SMU’s orientation had on me, and I could not help myself from applying to become an AARO leader. Last summer, my best friend (the one who matched outfits with his dad at our own AARO!) and I spent our summer orientating the class of 2019 to the Mustang family. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to meet students from all over the world, hearing about the same nervous-excitement that I felt just a year before, and then watching them make friends and feel like they were finally home too. Since I’ve come to Texas, my life has been forever changed—but in the best way possible! Pony up!