A few mornings ago, I blinked and first year Orientation was over. I peeled myself out of bed and made the convenient walk from the RC to campus. After scarfing down some pretty perfectly cooked bacon at “the caf,” I found myself in the front row of the lecture hall, school supplies strewn out across the desk, pen in hand, ready to hear my very first lecture at ICO. I couldn’t believe that barely a year ago I was sending in my application to my top choice school. I knew then that ICO was the place for me, but after this first week, there is not a single ounce of doubt in my mind.
Seriously though, I love y’all. No, I’m not Southern, and after this post I’ll go back to saying “you guys,” but I had to make a tribute to my Tennessee native roommate and all of the incredible diversity here at ICO. Did you know that some people put ketchup on their hot dog? Even more alarming: some people have NEVER had a Chicago style hot dog. *insert gasp* Just like where we came from, the size of our families, the hobbies we enjoy, and what we majored in in college, different condiments used for our hot dogs is just one more example of how different we all are. This year at Orientation, we participated in a few diversity exercises and it was extremely refreshing to see our differences unfold. Our Orientation leaders encouraged us to “feel the love” despite our diversity, and I’m writing today to do just that.
To the faculty and staff: You all have been incredibly helpful. I feel that you’ve made yourselves readily available to us students and if I didn’t know it already, “No question is the only stupid question.” Throughout my school career teachers and profs always would say that but I have to be honest, this is the first time I actually believe it. So, thanks for that. Thanks for being willing to hear the silly jumble in my brain translated into a somewhat coherent phrase with a question mark at the end of it.
To the second years: Y’all rock. I have never felt more welcomed than I have this past week. Starting something new can be daunting, and it takes down the “daunt factor” when you know you have people who were just in your shoes looking out for ya. Thanks for showing us a taste of Chicago. I’m pumped that we have a few more years together still.
To the upperclassman: I don’t know many of you yet, but if you’re anything like all of the other wonderful people I’ve met at ICO, I can’t wait to get to know you. If you ever see a girl wandering aimlessly through the halls, I’m OK with you asking me if I need help; trust me, I need all the help I can get.
And finally, a big thanks to the city of Chicago for being one of the most diverse places in the world. There’s no way to live here and not become mesmerized by the bustle that surrounds us. If you’re ever bored, go take a walk downtown; in about 0.2 seconds, you’ll forget what boredom is.
I cannot wait to continue this journey at ICO, and I hope I can live up to the high standards before me. So here’s to first year, Chicago style grub, and Southern accents.