As I start my junior year, I am joined by my little brother, Jackson, an incoming freshman, who will begin the BFA acting track this semester, just as I did two years ago.
The drive to Oklahoma City from Las Vegas is always tough, a riveting 16 hours to be precise. When we got here, though, we were welcomed by almost everyone on campus.
Signs welcomed incoming freshmen and events were scheduled to help assimilate outsiders into the community. Seeing all the fun the incoming freshmen were having actually made me wish I was a freshman again.
I helped move Jackson into Walker Hall, and it was an incredible experience. New Student Orientation Leaders and Greek Life members were there in strong numbers to help incoming freshmen move in and make them feel more at home. It was astonishing.
Since my freshman year, I have noticed an increase in a community feel here at OCU, and that was evident at the move-in process at Walker Hall.
Once Jackson was all moved in, it was hard to let him be on his own. I am his big brother, and we’ve lived together for 18 years. But I had to let him be his own man and make his own friends. He has to go through the same process of learning the campus, making a schedule and being responsible as I had to two years ago.
I urge everyone with significant others, siblings and friends to take a step back and let your loved ones figure this out on their own. Part of a young adult’s first steps on a college campus is to feel the separation from family and learn how to meet new people from all walks of life. It is a process we all go through and that actually unites us.
When students first arrive on campus, they all feel like fish out of water. When we, as humans, are gasping for air and trying to get back into the water, we tend to help each other out.
Arriving on a college campus for the first time initiates a powerful form of bonding. For this reason, I encouraged Jackson to spend some time with his new roommates, participating in the events of Stars Week and spending some time on his own, without his big brother. Jackson told me he has enjoyed his first week on campus.
I look forward to meeting his new friends and hearing about all his experiences as he starts a new chapter in his life.