First-Year Orientation

By: Kenzie Shand ’17

Kenzie Shand is a first-year middle blocker from Saline, Mich.

Kenzie Shand is a first-year middle blocker from Saline, Mich.

People may tell you that O-week is the best and most fun week of the entire year. They’ll say it’s full of parties and meeting new people without having the worry about that history paper you have due or that chemistry test you have coming up. Well, the people who told you that are either upperclassmen or liars. Don’t get me wrong, O-week is an exciting week with so many opportunities to not only meet new people, but also get used to and settle down in your new place.

I already feel like I can look around campus and be guaranteed at least a few familiar faces in a crowd. However, it can also be quite stressful. Between all the mandatory meetings for orientation, and the lifts and practices necessary for volleyball, your days that used to be filled with naps and a bit of free time are no more. Whether it’s the Honor System meeting in Lee Chapel or the Voices of W&L performing in the Keller Center, you have information flying at you like dodge balls at the nerdy kid in middle school gym. Lucky for me, the second I step into the gym all the stresses that have come along with O-week seem to disappear.

Volleyball seems to currently be the one place that I can forget about everything going on in the real world and just focus in on my duties as a Washington and Lee volleyball player. I’m blessed to be able to have this release and all the benefits that come with it. Unlike other kids on campus, I came to school guaranteed having not only sixteen friends, but sixteen sisters and two loving coaches that will support us in everything we do. The older girls have been helpful in every aspect of university life, whether it’s explaining drills, giving us advice, helping us pick classes, or simply introducing us to some potential friends.  They have made a point to stick with us and help us persevere through all the awkward moments that come along with starting over in a new place. I know I can speak for all the freshmen when I say that I am so unbelievably grateful to have these girls in my life.

For me, having to pick classes was the worst part. I felt like I had to start shaping my entire future with the classes I was picking for the fall semester, not to mention I am one of the most indecisive people on the planet. Luckily, the older girls stepped in and helped me realize that your entire life doesn’t revolve around whether you take a biology lab in the fall or wait until the winter semester instead.

Now, don’t fret over everything that may occur during O-week. As much stuff that is going on during the day, after everything is said and done there is always room to have a good time. Every night there have been a ton of events going on for people to attend, and there is always the option to stay in with a few buddies for the night. There is absolutely no social pressure to do things you don’t want to do, and people genuinely respect any decision you might make during a night out as long as you’re respecting yourself. The whole team took us freshmen out and we had a blast just listening to live music and dancing amongst each other. It’s great knowing that you can go out and just be yourself without worrying about peer pressure. So enjoy your experience during O-week, because it only happens once, and don’t let the little stresses of being so busy get to you. O-week is a great introduction as to what the rest of the year will be like and I can’t wait to see what this semester has in store for me, both on the court and in the classroom.

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