We are freshmen. The bottom of the food chain, the small guys, the beanies. At least we thought we were. Then we set foot on campus and learned what it meant to be a part of the Springfield College Pride. Both the Pre-Camp and NSO Leaders were beyond welcoming. Casey Keeley stated, “I didn’t know what to expect, everyone was out on the green screaming and yelling and I was like, ‘what did I get myself into?’ Keeley quickly realized that he was experiencing the leaders’ way of welcoming him to campus. They greeted us in an overwhelming manner, which helped open us to making new friends.
At first, most of the freshmen were shy and kept from expressing themselves. We were put into large groups of mixed race, gender and social status. For some it was an extremely uncomfortable situation. As time went on, and with the help of our leaders, each stranger slowly transformed into a friend. These new friends weren’t just discovered through a simple hello or a shared conversation in the lunch line. Each and every freshman bonded during emotional, and eye opening experiences. When asked about her experience, Katherine Donahue replied, “My favorite parts were the serious moments because they allowed everyone to open up to each other. They broke down the barriers and made us instantly close.” These moments varied from the diversity seminar, trust circles, team building games and our NSO graduation. All of which left tears in our eyes.
The key parts to those moments were our leaders. These small groups of upperclassmen did a remarkable job of welcoming us to their home. They treated us like friends, acting more as guides rather than our superiors. When asked about his leaders, Keeley shared, “The bonds that I made are going to make my time here at Springfield ten times better than they would have been.” It was truly a beautiful experience to start with a group of diverse strangers and transform into a class of outgoing friends. When asked about her thoughts, Donahue added, “It prepared and excited me. It showed me that everyone sees you as the same, and not as a freshman. It made me excited to fit in and start my new journey.” Without such great leaders, the Springfield College community wouldn’t be so special.
We freshmen walk throughout campus with our heads held high because we know we are accepted. We belong to a community that genuinely cares about one another. The proof is around each corner of the sidewalk, where we pass our fellow students with a smile or a nod. Now each of us has this oasis in the middle of Springfield, MA, that we call home. Who better to share a home with than a pride of a couple thousand students? We are freshmen? No, we are the next addition to the Springfield College Pride!