The Centipede

Freshmen, Relax!

CA - Website

CA - Website

Isabel Cushing, Features Editor

Take a deep breath in. Exhale slowly and breathe again. As simple as it seems, I’m pretty sure I forgot to breathe for most of my freshman orientation. I made my Mom drive back and forth for a bit on Main Street so that we wouldn’t be awkwardly early and I agonized over what to wear, what to bring for the overnight, and what the other kids would be like. I’m a day student, but I imagine the stress is even greater for boarders, who may be leaving home for the first time.

For all of you, boarding or day, Concord Academy is a new place, and new places are scary. But whatever you’re feeling—nervous, excited, or any combination of the two—is completely okay. It’s a lot to be nervous about: new people, new environment, uncertainty about how to act or whom to talk to. It may feel as though these next few days of orientation will decide how your next four years at CA will be.

As I enter my senior year at CA, I can tell you with certainty that these next few days are not as important or definitive as you think they are. I know it seems like friend groups are already forming, and maybe you’re struggling to find your place in the midst of it all, but over the next few years you spend at CA these groups will shift and change as everyone works out where they belong.

Even though it was over three years ago, I can clearly remember feeling those nerves, the stress about friend groupings and settling into a new place. It seemed like the most important thing in the world to find my new best friends during orientation, but my closest friends now are a mix of those I met freshman, sophomore and junior year. Even though these next three or four days of orientation feel like a time limit during which you have to figure out where you stand, I promise it’s never too late to find your place. Chances are, even if you find a group during orientation, this group will change and expand over the next four years.

Nothing that happens at orientation is definitive. Not the persona you put on, not the friends you make, not the embarrassing moment when you tripped on the stairs to the SHAC and everyone saw. Nobody will remember, and nobody will push you to remain the person you were at orientation. You will have room to change and grow over the next four years, and orientation is meant only to start off this growing process. It doesn’t have to be scary or nerve-wracking. I promise before you know it, your freshman year will be over and you’ll be returning to CA next September as someone who knows the drill.

So enjoy your time as a freshman, relish in the chance to meet new people and form connections, and remember that everything is going to be okay.

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Freshmen, Relax!