Since moving into Hamilton College less than two weeks ago, the Class of 2020 has been talked at a lot. I guess it comes with the territory of being freshmen and going through orientation, but the ambush of words have definitely gone over the heads of myself and a lot of my fellow students. We've come close to falling asleep during the plethora of lectures, we've dragged our feet on the way to Wellin Hall, we've sat there trying to discreetly, or not so discreetly checking our phones and snapchatting our new friends who are also forced to sit and listen when we mostly just want to nap.
The talks we've received over the last week have been filled with a plethora of information and tips about maximizing our time here on the Hill. The advice has been endless, but there was one talk that truly resonated with me, and hopefully with the rest of my class-and no, it not the terrifying fire safety talk that had us all running to check the posters in our dorms to be caught up on evacuation procedure. It was one of the few talks we got from Andrew Jillings, one of the leaders of the entire orientation program and the outing club.
This particular talk was the first of several given by Andrew Jillings, and by the time we were sitting down in the Field House, the air was so heavy with humidity and the threat of thundershowers, it was the end of possibly our longest day on campus-move in day- and everyone was probably wishing for just a couple of free moments to relax and decompress.
He started by acknowledging that he too hated having to keep us cooped up inside, but stressed the importance of paying attention for the crucial rules of orientation week, particularly for our Adirondack, Exploration, or Outreach Adventures. Perhaps eliciting the most laughs and really securing the attention of the crowd was the rule "No loss of life, and no gain of life."
While that last part definitely lightened the mood and engaged the crowd of tired, new students, it was what came towards the end of the talk that really stuck with me the most out of every talk we've sat through, and what has motivated me throughout the entire orientation process, and what I hope will continue to inspire me and motivate me and the rest of my class. Andrew looked at us and said, "What I hope the most for all of you is that you can just be here now."
Be here now. Three simple words that seem like common sense but is so important to remember. He continued with something along the lines of, "I wish that we could all stick our fingers into the ground, this earth. I wish we could reach through the grass, dirt, and mud and be here, in Clinton, New York, and just be here now." These are the words that have been the most inspiring throughout a jam-packed week of advice and lectures meant to guide us. Those three words are the ones that have been stuck in my head.
What makes the phrase so powerful, to me at least, is the truthfulness and the importance of staying aware and engaged as we start these new lives, especially in the age of technology. It is so, so tempting to stare at our phones all day to use Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook or to constantly Snapchat, text, call, and Facetime your best friends, significant others, and families back home.
And I'm not saying don't call your parents and cut off everybody from home-please call your parents. It's just incredibly important to focus on being here now. Now is the time that we'll develop bonds and lasting friendships with the people around us, now is when it's crucial to learn your way around campus, now is when it's important to figure things out with your roommates and develop new schedules. Now is when it's important to be here now.
And with the hundreds of promises we've heard from the administration and older students-that we're sitting among our life-long friends, that we'll be safe in any emergency situation, that the opportunities of a Hamilton education are limitless, that we can study what we love and be who we are, that we will survive without our iPhones during our Adirondack, Outreach, and Exploration Adventures; I think it's important that we make some promises to ourselves for the next four years. And not just the cheesy, New Year's Resolution type promises like eat better and actually go to the gym. We should make a meaningful promise to ourselves like never holding back you true personality, being unapologetic about our passions and the pursuit of our passions, and testing new things outside of our comfort zones.
My personal promise to myself, though, is to be here now; to embrace my surroundings with open arms, to try my best to not obsess over my phone, to be present with my classmates, and to just be here now, in Clinton, studying at Hamilton College, digging my fingers into the ground and establishing a good life here at Hamilton, focusing on the present.