Kirsten Fedorowicz, The Saint Reporter
Photo courtesy of Brian Kelly
The other day I was going about my daily routine when I ran into my orientation leader, the lovely Kascha Sanor. Kascha, a junior, was enthusiastic to see me, as she always is, and immediately went into asking me if I needed anything. I happily replied with a “no, everything is great” and assured her that I was simply heading to the Moose to grab a Chai Tea Latte.
“I miss you guys,” Kascha confessed to me, “You’re so grown-up now, you don’t even need my advice anymore.”
I assured her that I will never outgrow her advice, but it did lead me to start thinking about how much I’ve grown these past few months.
In late August, I was exhausted. I had just spent a summer at a Girl Scout Camp in Southeastern Michigan, and was so emotionally drained that I couldn’t really imagine moving on, introducing myself to new people and experiences when I’d just had a summer full of them. I remember walking into Regina First West, a place I now feel completely feel at home at, and drowning in the mess of chaotic voices. My roommate was running a little later than my family, and I spent minutes staring at the blank wall and bland wooden furniture and wondering how this could ever be home.
Orientation Week was a real tipping point, the time when that blank wall was quickly filled with brochures of opportunities and pictures of new experiences.
“I had real doubts about Orientation week,” my friend Olivia Smith, a first-year, told me. “I thought it would be dumb and that I wouldn’t like anyone. I immediately connected with my roommate, and everyone in my Orientation Group was amazing. I love all of you guys.”
Olivia and I were in the same Orientation group, Mangiamo, and I remember meeting her and asking what sports she did and thinking we had nothing in common when she followed up with the fact that she played Basketball and Soccer while I was a dedicated runner. In the months since, Olivia has become my workout partner.
“I used to not be able to run three miles! You don’t even understand how big of a deal this is!” She told me, laughing.
Olivia has now run, along with our friend Maria Maguire, who is also a first-year, seven miles around Reeds Lake in Gaslight Village. Olivia and I were not alone in our immediate, though seemingly unlikely, friendship.
“Every single day you were meeting new people and bonding,” my roommate Betsey Cook, a first-year, said about Orientation Weekend. “The people I started talking to during those few days are the people I still hang out with now.”
Orientation is easy to talk about, but it was only the start. I’m in the Social Activism Club (SAC) and got the great experience of going to Chicago during the Chicago Marathon to volunteer with Our Lady of the Angels, a covenant that supported a poor area in Chicago.
“It was a really interesting experience,” my friend, first-year Dana Van Huis, who also went on the trip told me. “I would never had been able to have if I hadn’t gone to Aquinas.”
We’ve also taken advantage of all the great sports Aquinas offers, mostly Women’s Hockey, a sport during which I’m told yelling ‘You skate really nice!’ is not the proper way to cheer.
“I appreciate all the support I can get,” Maguire, who plays defense on the team, joked. “Plus, you bring really optimistic signs.”
Thanks for AQ for the great memories and awesome start so far. Here’s to four more years of great people and places.