By Aubrey Murtha — I am a volunteer in admissions here at Marquette, and I had several students ask about MU’s Freshman Frontier program—a summer opportunity for incoming students to live and learn on campus for a few weeks.
They thought that maybe enrolling in the program would help them avoid embarrassment during their first few weeks of school come the fall. I was honest with them: “Freshmen Frontier gives you a great opportunity to explore the campus and get a better feel for the MU environment. Will you still embarrass yourself next year? Obviously! That’s the nature of being a freshman. Been there, done that, times a million.”
This got me thinking about my first days on campus. I can’t even comprehend how incredibly fast this academic year has flown by. I know it seems cliché, but I remember my orientation week as if it had taken place just yesterday. I remember that queasy feeling that came over me as my mom, my sister and I were driving the ten minutes from my house in Wauwatosa to my new residence—Abbottsford Hall on good ole Wisconsin Ave. The night before, I had spent several hours picking out an outfit for the next day, ensuring that I had every little necessity gathered and packed away for the big move, and stalking and re-stalking my two roommates on Facebook (sorry Maddie and Nicole).
When we finally reached our destination, campus pretty much looked like a movie. Bubbly upperclassman O-Staff leaders greeted us with giant, cheesy smiles. New Golden Eagles dragged massive loads of junk to the end of the elevator line that wove around the lobby in zig-zags. Girls giggled as they surveyed the male population of the floor above them. A set of first time college parents got misty eyed as they watched their son collect the keys to his new home.
We made our way up to the fourth floor. It was probably a solid 90 degrees that day, but it felt like 120 up there in room 409. I shook hands with my roommates. We lofted the beds, unpacked our clothes, organized our new home, and finally, said goodbye to the people who had lived with us for the past 18 years and loved us anyway.
And thus the most hectic week of our young lives began. We played nice with as many people as we could because, after all, we had no idea who our best friend would be for the next four years. We attended an exorbitant number of meetings. We threw ourselves into terribly awkward situations. Some attended their first college party. Others uh…enjoyed their first McCormick meal. If you’re like me, you got lost on campus two, three, four, maybe ten times during that first week. We asked seniors for advice. We did service in Milwaukee for the first time. We attended the first of many Tuesday night masses at Joan of Arc. We bonded with our floors. We got excited about MU basketball. We went to class and learned some stuff that we probably don’t remember now. We explored the city that we would call home for the next four years.
Wow, what a beautifully precious time that was when we freshmen were awkward and excited and nervous and phony and fresh. I’ve got one tip for this incoming class, the Marquette University Class of 2018. Cherish those silly times. I am a young freshman and still relatively naïve compared to my friends of MU senior status. Some of you might be thinking, what does this kid know anyway? But take it from me for whatever it is worth: a Marquette education has truly been the best thing that’s ever happened to this homegrown Midwesterner, and you will make irreplaceable memories during those first few weeks if you are open to the many opportunities that this campus and these people have to offer. Not sold just yet? Call me, text me, write me. Instant Messaging, anyone? Heck, fax me if that’s the mode of communication you prefer. I’ll convince you.