Reflection by Brooke Amodei, ’21
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Oh… did you think I meant the holidays? That too. More importantly, though, it’s Evergreen application season! Having been an Evergreen for three years, I get really excited at the prospect of someone who was in my shoes three years ago filling out that application and sending it in with high hopes.
At my summer orientation in 2017, they had an Evergreen speak, and I remember turning to my mom and telling her I was going to be one of those. She reminded me that I probably had to move in first. I wanted to help first years and make a difference, along with joining the community that I saw in them. Later on, after my experience with my compassionate and wonderful Evergreen, Sarah, I was certain that I wanted to be for others who she was for me and my Messina group.
Being an Evergreen has been such a joy, and I cannot believe I am in the home stretch of it. First and foremost, I love doing it for the students. The best part is truly building connections with students and making sure they know they have someone to look to if things get really tough. Also, I make a lot of mistakes, so being able to pass on wisdom as to how not to make those same mistakes that I did is really cathartic- whether it pertains to sleep schedules, study skills, roommate problems, social connections, or really anything at all.
Even more, watching students grow from timid, anxious high school graduates at fall welcome weekend into confident, comfortable young adults is genuinely enough to bring tears to my eyes. Watching my first years find their friend groups, come out of their shell, and even become student leaders of their own is indescribably special. Working as an Evergreen alongside my former first years, who are now my friends, is a feeling that I can’t put on paper. Getting to collaborate with Loyola faculty from all over to help these students ease into college has never not felt like a treat. It can be really easy to be jaded by college stress, but working with first years consistently has helped me keep the light in my eyes and the optimism much longer.
The community I chased in being an Evergreen has also been a true joy. I’ve met people and made connections that I never would have without the program, and that I am so grateful for. I have danced around campus at 6:00 in the morning, sat through two hour training sessions on Friday afternoons, directed traffic in 90 degree weather at summer orientation, and played goofy games late into the night with all of these people. You get to know every name, you hear personal trials and successes, and develop really cool connections that vary in depth with these 80 or so other people every year. Even if it’s just hearing your name shouted across Starbucks, you know you have this deeply rooted support system to connect with.
All of this is to say: first years, if you are considering filling out that Evergreen application, do it! I may never meet you, I will never dance with you across the student center before the sun comes up, and I will never hear about your triumph with a struggling first year, but someone will. This is truly worthwhile work, and in the good and not so good, I could not have imagined my college career without it.