First Night experience proves meaningful

By Sarah Morris

Contributing Writer

First Night was a bit of a mystery to me until the actual night it occurred. I kept receiving emails reminding me that some super-important event was coming up, blah blah blah, about inducting the first-years as University alumni.  Truthfully, I never read beyond the subject line.  Before I knew it, posters covered my hall demanding me to attend this event and to dress nicely: an idea I was not really at all for.

As a member of the volleyball team I was lucky enough to receive all of the ins and outs about Orientation before it occurred.  Never once did the upperclassmen mention an event called First Night.  So, I clearly thought it was neither important nor valuable. I actually considered skipping it so that I could shower, but due to my loyalty to our newspaper and the fact that my RA said it was mandatory, I attended First Night with as much as an open mind as possible.

I was actually thoroughly surprised by how enjoyable it was. I am not saying that there are not other things I would have rather been doing with my Friday night, but First Night was an experience I was glad I could take part in.

It was really fun to meet with the alumni and see what they had to say about the University so many years later. It was clear, due to the devotion and long travels back to their alma mater, that the University remained in their hearts. They definitely made me feel not only be proud to be a part of the University community but also hopeful for my future as a graduate. I loved listening to the alumni recount stories ranging in hilarity over weekend traumas to somber stories about final studying and class difficulty.  I felt as if I could really relate to the speakers, despite our age difference and different experiences.

I loved our class government’s presentation and collaborative speech. The words of Colin Hassell and Jen Lassen were motivational and really hit home.  Partially due to the communal feeling and the slide show of first semester pictures, First Night really made me feel more like a member of our University’s family.  This sentiment was far different from how I felt during orientation: a little lost, isolated and vulnerable.

I did think that the walk to the President’s House to sing to him was a little over-board. If it had been the summer, I would not have minded the treacherous hike, but the cold and snow made me a little weary of the walk.  Overall, though, First Night was a great bonding experience for our class.

I think First Night is an important way to connect with alumni and see all of the possible futures that result with diploma from our school.  But I am not certain an entire event in Rooke Chapel with a ceremonious walk to the President’s House is necessary to achieve that understanding of how such an education will benefit us in the future.

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