I’d like to start out by sharing a piece of advice with you. I know that everyone has apprehensions about college, whether it’s getting good grades, being able to make new friends, or something as simple as getting along with your roommate. But I have the perfect remedy for your college worries.
You’re probably sitting there, thinking “Oh no! Not another one of these cliché spiels about how I’m supposed to start joining clubs and do everything I can get my hands on!” But there’s an incredible amount of truth to those two words. Even before the fall semester starts, often times colleges have pre-fall programs that give students (especially first-year) the opportunity to get a head start to college life by arriving to campus early. By doing so, it gives students a chance to build ever-lasting relationships with their peers, to explore the city in which Loyola is ground upon, and even to give back to the community by serving the needy.
Well, that’s exactly what I did with the S.O.S pre-fall program. A group of thirteen Loyola students, including me, embarked on an immersion trip in Baltimore where we first-handedly experienced the daily life of the less fortunate.
Now, I could just list whatever I did during the trip, but that would be no fun. So, I’ll share with you the most memorable part.
My most cherished moment of S.O.S was talking to a group of men with all of the other S.O.S participants and hearing the mens’ life stories. Simply taking in all the struggles they went through was a life-changing experience for me. It’s not everyday that people are open enough to tell you about the drug addictions, crimes they have committed, and mistakes they have made that have led them to this point in their lives today. Whenever I’m faced with a tough decision, my mind thinks of one of the men, Marcell, who I had the honor to get to know a little bit. What would he do if he was faced with the same decision as me? Would he give in? Would he say no? It’s just something I really take into account and something that I’ve brought back with me from the whole S.O.S experience.
If I could sum all of this into one phrase, it would be “The early bird gets the worm.” By putting yourself out there, you meet new people. By meeting new people, you make everlasting connections and friendships. And those connections and friendships will be what shape your college experience, hopefully for the better! It’s opportunities like these that bring you closer to people. It’s a good feeling to be able to say hi to a friend while going to class on the first day of freshmen year.
Now, you might be wondering why the title of this blog has the words House Fires in it. And for a while, I was contemplating if I should save that story for a later time or just be right out and tell it. But then I gave it some thought. What better way to share another story than by starting out with a picture!?
You know that old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words?” Well that is sort of an understatement for this picture. Quite clearly, when your kitchen oven starts smoking up like a wildfire, a million things pop into your mind. For me, it was probably: phone, laptop, sweatshirt. (haha)
When you think of us “cooking” in dorms, you might tend to believe that things can get a little crazy. And boy, do they! What may seem to be a bottom shelf could just turn out to be the broiler part of the oven. And so when someone decides to put a pair of shoes in that broiler part as a prank and you want to make cookies, there could just be the possibility of a house(kitchen) fire. Then follows a building evacuation, interrogation by cops, and a whole big mess to clean up. But hey, at least now I have a great story to tell people!
And so if I were to leave you, for now, by giving another piece of advice, it would be to check for shoes in your oven before cooking anything. They just might be yours!