Everything looks better the second time around

by Maddy Saunders


I will never forget the first time I saw my parents cry.


Eighteen years had passed until I actually saw them do so in person. When they did it was at the same time, in the same place and it made me feel uncomfortable. It was the last night of the parents’ part of orientation week that occurs just before the first day of school of freshmen year. They started to cry uncontrollably, both knowing it would be awhile before we would all be reunited, since I had picked a school out of state.


My mother tried to hold back the tears as long as she could, her lip quivered as she murmured her good byes over and over. My dad didn’t even try to hide his feelings; he just let the tears stream down his face as he patted my back. At the time I didn’t feel much. I was a little embarrassed that my parents had lost control of their emotions in public. I had a hard time connecting with their sadness, for I was excited to embark on my new adventure as a college freshman.


My first day of orientation alone was awful. The activities I had to participate in were torturous. Most of the activities were icebreaker games and I, like many other introverts, believe that icebreaker games only have a place in Hell.  I spent all morning trying to hide from the enthusiastic, outgoing orientation leaders, so I wouldn’t have to act in some form of a charades game. I also struggled connecting with the students in my group. Some students already had formed small cliques to which I was not invited to join, while others didn’t seem that interested in making friends.


My orientation week set a precedent for my freshmen year. I came into Chapman with so many high expectations that there was no room but for them to go down. I was shy and had a hard time meeting and making friends. I ached and longed for the friends I had known all my life from home, comparing everyone new I met to them. I also missed my hometown of Boise, Idaho.


The atmosphere of Southern California and Boise were opposites and I was not prepared for the culture shock. I made many calls home to my parents worried that I was wasting the supposedly “best years of my life” being unhappy. I was concerned because my friends from home were having great times at their schools and I kept comparing my substandard experience to theirs. I thought a lot about transferring, but as much as I thought about it and discussed it with my parents there was something deep down preventing me from following through with it.


I believe I stayed at Chapman because of my freshman-year roommate and my tennis team. I spent so much of my time worrying that I hadn’t made any friends my freshman year that I failed to realize I had become best friends with my roommate. From just one year of living with her I knew her as well as I knew my friends from home of 13 years.


I also got to know all of the girls on the tennis team well, especially during spring season. Some of my favorite memories with team range from telling stories while riding in the team van to away matches or having team dinners at an upperclassmen’s house. When I’m done playing for Chapman I will reflect on my collegiate career and those memories will come to mind.


Now in my sophomore year, I am relieved that I didn’t transfer. I have met more people and remained close with my freshmen year roommate. I look forward to going to practice and becoming close with the new players.


Overall, I am much happier, but if I were to relive the moment where my parents left me at Chapman I think it would be much different. I would cry more than both of my parents combined. I would cry so much they would probably feel obligated to take me back on the plane with them.

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