Loyola University Maryland

Messina

Last First Day

REFLECTION BY LOYOLA SENIOR, CAROLINE HERMANCE

As August starts to dry up and the school supplies appear at the grocery store, we can always tell when the start of the academic year is just around the corner. I had always focused on getting one last haircut, one last day out in the sun, picking out a first-day-of-school outfit, and nursing the knot of excited, nervous energy in the pit of my stomach. What did my friends do all summer? Were my teachers going to be funny? Would I get a good seat in math class?

Every year, from preschool to senior year of high school, my family would make sure to be ready a few minutes early to go out on the front step and take a photo together. The pit in my stomach would always grow up into my whole body, making me excited all over – heart racing, awake, and ready to get there on time. I wasn’t exactly nervous in a negative way, but instead was more anxious to see what the day would bring.

This feeling didn’t change much over the years. My first year of college brought a similar feeling of anxiousness and excitement, this time further from my front doorstep and my family. I marched outside with my backpack and took my first-day photo before running from Flannery to Knott Hall for my 9:00 am biology class. My mind spun in the same way, wondering if my teacher would be funny or if I’d find a good seat. I listened to Magnets by Disclosure to pump me up, and tried to catch my breath before running into class.

Honestly, the only tangible change after four years in college is the shift in playlist jams – I still listen to that song and remember my first day like it was yesterday. The change in my emotions is noticeable too – as a senior, sprint-walking to Knott Hall for a 9:00 am lecture on my last first day, I don’t feel any fear. Still some anxiousness, and a lot of excitement, but it’s a comfortable feeling. I know this place. I know the people, I know all the shortcuts around campus, how long I can afford to wait for a coffee at Starbucks, and most of all, that I like being here. I’m confident that my time at Loyola has been worthwhile, and I wish I could tell my first-year self just how ready I feel to take on the world.

To all the first years who are tackling their first month of college, the rest of us remember exactly how we felt when we were in your shoes. Take a breath, get some sleep, and work on refining your schedule to fit your needs. Eat something. And most of all – think back to the excitement you felt on your first day of school. We’re just as excited to have you here!

– Caroline

Several students running with arms linked in a grassy field
Your first year

What, exactly, is Messina?

A closer look at Loyola University Maryland's first-year experience.

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