Coming to Villanova in the midst of a pandemic, I didn't know what to expect. I was one of the first of my friends to leave for college, so I was the guinea pig. Many questions ran through my mind. How strict would the rules be? How would I make friends? What would classes look like?
My first night here was the night of the infamous South Campus gathering. It definitely was not a good look for my class. But, the gathering was wholesome and I feel like we were just trying to get to know people. College is a hard enough transition to begin with, and the COVID restrictions make it harder. However, it is no excuse for our actions, as the University is working tirelessly to keep us all safe. It's not fair to them if we're reckless. After that night, I realized how seriously I must take the rules if I want to stay here.
On the bright side, orientation was an amazing experience. I'm so grateful that we were able to have the majority of it in-person, because its format allowed me to form bonds with others in my group. We got along very well, and by the end of the four days I considered everyone in my group, including our orientation counselor, a friend.
As someone with the taste palette of a ten-year-old, it took some time to adjust to the food here. However, I've figured out how to use the Nova Now app to look at the menus. I've also found my favorite spots, like The Exchange, Bell Aire Terrace, and Cafe Nova (basically Chipotle).
I learned many other lessons, like how to use communal bathrooms and figuring out the mail room. I've also learned that my legs are going to be toned at the end of the semester, thanks to the Stanford stairs. I live on the fifth floor and it's quite a hike to get back to my dorm. I've learned that the sunsets here are prettier than anywhere else, too.
Above all, the most important lesson I learned is that I chose the right school. The friendly vibe here is so comforting-- there is no way it exists at many other campuses. The admissions officers weren't messing around when they made us write about the importance of community. Villanova's emphasis on community isn't just an advertising ploy. I feel it in my interactions with my professors, faculty, and fellow classmates.
The beginning of my college experience isn't everything I dreamed it to be. I'm homesick. I wish I could go out to the Courts. I want to give people hugs. I don't like Zoom classes. But, this is just a glimpse of what my overall college experience is going to be like. If I'm enjoying myself this much, I can't wait to see what Villanova has in store for me in the future.