One of the events I look forward to most in the fall is the hayride at the Sanders’s farm. It is always fun to share food and fellowship with my friends and other members of the congregation. It’s nice to get away from Clemson and see the cows, chickens, and dogs at the farm. This year I enjoyed throwing the football around with my friends and the children that were there. What a great way to kick off autumn!
Hi, I’m Connor Lehmacher, a first year at Vanderbilt.
My orientation and the subsequent first weeks of classes were very rough. I was mostly stressed about social engagement. However now, I’m doing great. So, I’d like to reflect on how I made it though and give some advice on what could have been different. Throughout the first couple of weeks, relationships from home and student organizations were critical.
Friends and family: I suppose it’s cliche, but it mattered. Initially, I decided that I’d become fully independent without support. Then, I first called my mom and it was wonderful. That moment let me say, "I can do this." I think maintaining relationships matters critically in life and we should strive for it.
Clubs: I received the advice to attend every organization three times before deciding whether do stay or not. I think this works. Critically, my engagement in Nashville Canterbury Circle depended on several meetings. Because of all my stress, I couldn’t enjoy the first two meetings. It may have also been the organization. Whatever it was I’m glad that I stayed because the third meeting was wonderful and ever since I have enjoyed it plenty. Also, I felt much more justified quitting debate team after four meetings than if I had just left immediately.
New people: At Vanderbilt and maybe at all colleges, everyone is overly-extroverted the first days. I’m sure I answered where I’m from and which dorm was mine more than 30 times. And what does it matter? — Alas. But I asked these questions, too... I think to deal with this I could have known that this can be a coping mechanism when isolation if felt. Furthermore, one can be lonely in a crowd and one can be alone without being lonely. I had always equated the two and that meant that I pushed myself social to my detriment. Eating alone can be wonderful.
Connor Lehmacher is a member of the University Lutheran Church congregation and a native of Clemson, SC.