‘Though years have fled and years shall flow’

My voice wavers during the Alma Mater, turning into my grandmother’s not-so-great singing voice I remember hearing during church services while growing up.

Think about Bradley. Think about those quotes that supposedly make you feel better about things being over. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Yeah. That crap. You paid thousands of dollars NOT TO CRY RIGHT NOW. So smile.

“WiTh mYrTle WrEAtH wE’ll DEcK thY bRoW,
bONA’s, oLd ST. BoNA’S.”

Remember when you were a junior in high school and your mom graduated in this very chapel? Think about that, Emily. She was smiling as she walked down the aisle. NOT crying. You’re FINE.

“The verdant leaves our love avow,
Bona’s, old ST. bONa’S.”

Okay, okay. Some of the other graduates around you aren’t singing. They kind of suck. Maybe they can’t find their programs? None of us actually learned this shit. You’re fine, Emily.

“Thy name was ever fair and bright:
We’ll keep it thus with memory’s light
And laud thy glorious Brown and White,
BONa’S, Ollld sT. BoNA’s.”

But seriously. WHAT THE HECK? I hadn’t planned to graduate this early. Haley, sitting two rows ahead of me with the purple-y hair…SHE’S ready. She’s been ready. She even said she felt bad for me because she commuted, so she doesn’t have the same connection to the school that I do. One more verse. One stanza away.

“Our HEaRts shAlL EVeR be thy shrine,
bONa’S, ollllLd St. BOnA’s.”

I remember coming in here and studying the stained glass windows for two different classes. One with Dr. Tate, and the other with Bob Donius. I think… Clare College is kind of a blur to me now. Thank goodness Denny had me take all those classes my freshman and sophomore years. I wish he were sitting right behind me instead of diagonally. He’d probably keep kicking my chair and distract me from the tears welling up in my eyes right now.

“Around thy name shall honor twine,
Bona’s, old St. Bona’s.”

When my freshman-year R.A. said this goes by way too fast, I honestly didn’t believe her. She said to take a lot of pictures. I hope I took enough pictures. 

E’er hallowed shall thy memory grow:
THOugH YeARs haVE FLeD AND yEaRS ShaLL fLoW”

Shit. Here come the tears.

“WiTHin OuR SOulS tHy LoVE sHalL gloWw
BOnA’S, oOooLLd ST. BoNa’sS”

"Done," said the alumna.
“Done,” said the alumna.

Everybody has a story

So, in August I will be heading off to St. Bonaventure University for my freshman year of college. There, I said it. Guess I’ve accepted it.

Since I will be an incoming freshman, I had to attend orientation last week (if it was truly optional, I probably would not have gone). My parents opted out (they had been through all of it before with my older brother), so I hopped in Bubbles – after breakfast with Robby – and off I went to Allegany. Was I lonely? Just a little. I kept myself occupied with the CDs I had loaded into the CD player before taking off.

This post isn’t going to be a big summary of my day. I write enough of those. No, this one will be more like a review of how my orientation. Everyone’s a critic, and I am possibly the toughest one to please.

First off, way to put kids in really nice suite dorm rooms. That was definitely a teaser. We all know we won’t get that kind of a room our freshman year (anyone who thinks otherwise is terribly naive). We’ll be sharing a bathroom and those without flip-flops on will probably develop ringworm. Disgusting, but true.

The games we played were really fun. I had a good time when I was in my group playing those games. They probably got annoyed by me (because I talk a lot), but nobody else was talking, so they cannot complain that somebody started the conversation and kept it going.  It was the other times (like when we were in the Quick Center for assemblies and Doyle Dining Hall for the activity) that things got awkward. Everyone in my group just stared at everybody else. At that point, I had lost interest with starting conversations. I was the only journalism major in my group – what would I possibly have in common with someone interested in physics? Umm, nothing. So how do they expect us to find something to talk about? I understand why they didn’t group us by major (“branch out!” they would have said, might I have asked), but it was hard to find something in common.

The book they gave us (Little Princes by Conor Grennan) looks fantastic. They honestly could not have picked a better book for me. We read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson for Honors 11 English but didn’t touch on anything like it in my last English class. Little Princes will be refreshing. Bonaventure even arranged for us to meet Conor Grennan in the fall once we are officially Bonaventure freshmen. They showed a video Conor sent us, the Class of 2015, of him  just explaining what he was thinking when he explored Nepal and why he decided to do it in the first place (it was not for very good reasons). I don’t know what the rest of my classmates were thinking, but I know that I was completely touched and several chills were sent down my spine as I watched the video and heard about the horrible things happening in our world. I can’t wait to meet him and I have Bona to thank.

Team challenge? Eh, the other teams got cocky. I liked my group well enough, but we just sucked at the group challenge. I felt bad for disappointing our awesome group leader, too (he was – by far – the most fun). As for the reflective pause, I kind of got freaked out when I realized it was in the University Chapel. At that point, I had made a friend and sat with her for the service. She and I ended up sharing the same viewpoints on things and kept catching each other’s eyes and giggling. Not mature, I know, but stepping into a Catholic church is like stepping into a completely different world for me. It is so different than the church service I grew up with (being Protestant) and still have not gotten used to it, even after attending a few of them (Robby and my best friend are Catholic). I was amazed when a lot of my fellow classmates did the hand gestures and knew the different prayers. None of them had seemed like the church-y type. Guess people will always surprise you.

Sneetches was the most powerful thing I have ever  been a part of. I’m not exaggerating; it was that awesome and touched me very deeply. The groups were grouped up with another one, and the two leaders took turns reading The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss. Because the book focused mainly on prejudice, I found it extremely relevant to how we would soon be integrating in a brand-new place. Most of the guys seemed to think it was stupid…until the activity began. It was simple: “I’m going to ask you a question, and you are to answer as honestly as you feel comfortable; this way we can learn a little more about you,” said my leader. It got more honest than I ever dreamed it would. For the first few questions, I don’t think anyone was taking it seriously. Then, when questions like “What was the worst thing that happened for you in the past year?” popped up and people answered them honestly, the room suddenly got smaller. Other questions were just as personal, and with each answer, we truly did know each other more and became more apathetic. One guy’s grandma has Alzheimer’s and he hates it when she doesn’t recognize him, the other guy’s dad died when he was only seven and then there were the people like me: a loved one died or friends were in trouble. Everybody had a story to tell and it really made me open my eyes. I could rave about Sneetches for a long time, that’s how much I truly enjoyed it. By the end, I felt cleansed. I could deal with doing that at least once a month throughout my freshman year. Don’t ever stop doing Sneetches, Bona; it’s the best thing you ever could have done.

Later on, girls got drunk and the place was a abuzz with gossip. I settled into bed after talking to Allie for awhile and then, when Christine came back, we stayed up talking until 2:30AM.

It was a lot of information crammed into one day with no break (though I may have snuck upstairs for a nap on Day 1). I think it probably could have been shortened and would have been better if it had not been so repetitive. Overall though, Bona did a great job with orientation. And I will always say that Sneetches was the best.