At the start of every school year comes a group of new students to replace those who have left. Also, at the start of every school year comes a great deal of awkwardness and adjustment among the new class. It’s happened for generations, and the readers of this article will invariably have been a part of that process at one point in time. Expect walking into a few wrong classes, moving between a few different lunch groups, and making a lot of new friends. Transitions are hard, especially to a new school, and it helps to know that the transition to high school life happens to everyone. Here’s what happened to me.
My first day of school at Bellarmine was one of the most confusing in my life. I was surrounded by people I didn’t know in a place that was much larger than my middle school, which had 60 students total. I remember sitting at the edge of one edge of vast, green quad with chairs stretching the length of the main hallway at my middle school. I was surrounded by the voices of kids joking with their friends, teachers reminiscing on the beginnings of previous years, and the endless refrain to get involved that was repeated like it was a bible hymn. Everything was bewildering, from the full free period (50 minutes) I took to explore the entire campus, the transitions back and forth from homeroom to classroom, and especially lunch.
Lunch is a complicated social procedure that takes years to master and is made more complicated by three factors. One, if this lunch is at a school, which it usually is at Bellarmine. Two, if this lunch includes more than 10 people, usually Bellarmine serves more than 10 people lunch a day. Three, if you have a specific place to eat lunch, which I didn’t. I started lunch off sitting with a guy I’d met from orientation and I ended it sitting next to a trash can near Carney because I tried to spend half of the lunch period with one friend from orientation and another half with another. Everything was confusing, everything was awkward, everything seemed like it didn’t work, it’s normal.
In an effort to inject some stability into our new Bellarmine Brother’s lives, here is some advice from upperclassmen, their favorite places on campus, and their chosen activities at Bellarmine:
“It’s normal to be overwhelmed by the size of Bellarmine. We all were! It’s okay if you get lost or are feeling overwhelmed. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask the upperclassmen for help, we are here to help!”
“My favorite place on campus is probably the second floor of Sobrato because of its nice views and places to just sit and do homework.”
“One thing I would tell freshmen to get through their first two weeks is to not be afraid of trying new things. So often in life, we get caught up in the ‘What Ifs?’ and doubts but all in all, trying new things isn’t bad. Speaking to someone you don’t know or joining an organization are all great ways to conquer these fears and learn more about oneself. Plus if you don’t make it to a sports team or don’t find yourself in one place, there’s always another one.”
“Theater tech (join us), and going to watch the performances.”
“The freshmen retreat was pretty great. You will have a great time on it!”
“One thing to tell freshmen to get them through their first 2 weeks is that there is a lot to look forward to through the year and that it only gets better.”
“The benches by the big tree in the center of campus are fantastic. They are a great place to hang out with friends or eat lunch.”
“My favorite place on campus is actually the chapel. One shouldn’t be afraid or discouraged from being in the chapel because it’s God’s house and the heart of campus. If one looks at Bell from a bird’s eye view, one will notice that the campus is at the center of it all with windows peering to different sections on campus. Along with that, music thrives in the chapel with the choir’s practices or with services happening. It’s a beautiful location to rest, relax, and enjoy God’s presence.”
“The theater and the benches in the center of the quad.”
“My favorite activities would be working and seeing the show”
“My favorite activities/events to do as a freshman was literally trying new things. Freshmen year, I joined a bunch of clubs and organizations like ASB, FSA, Bell’s Choir, Justice League, Campus Ministry, and much more. To this day, I am still involved in those activities because I love them so much. “Who knew I would enjoy seeking truth and justice in the world” or “who knew I would love planning the event where the school watches us shoot down a styrofoam Lancer football player” are questions I constantly ask myself as a senior which reinforce why I love Bellarmine so much. There’s so much to do and explore with people who are just as passionate. That’s the Bellarmine difference.”
So much of your first year at Bellarmine centers around adaptation. You will hear calls to join activities, clubs, classes, and teams, but ultimately, as with so many other experiences in life, you are in control. So have a great year, good luck, and Go Bells!