1. Love having a freshman fellow at the group meeting. I know all kinds of things, but I still am not entirely sure about the mechanics of registering, having never done it myself. This year's fellow, Felix, was terrific. I put him on the spot over and over and he came through.
2. I'm going to say it publicly. Orientation is too long. It was only day TWO and these students were bored and complaining "there's nothing to do". They're homesick. They're anxious about taking college courses. They want to START, not hang around. IMHO.
3. They always expect that I"m going to tell them what to take at our first one on one meeting. The number of possibilities is overwhelming. I know in a few months I"ll be able to look back at these first conversations and go "ah, I should have seen it coming". Right now, I'm not sure I can predict who is going to struggle this
first semester and who is going to sail through.
4. This year's surprise question? After telling one of my students that class started at 9 (or 10 or 11), their repeated question was "at night?". Classes that start at 10 at night???? Oh dear, I don't think college is going to live up to their exotic expectations....
5. And the most surprising observation came during a conversation about living with a roommate. The observation/question was "how do you take a shower?" Yikes. I can't remember. Walk down the hall in a towel? When do you take your clothes off? I'd forgotten all the little, daily anxieties that come with starting college.
One student sobbed and sobbed with homesickness and anxiety. Sometimes I don't feel like I'm qualified for this job. But at least I was someone who could listen on the first full day of college.