Editor’s Note: This is a guest blog post by Kettering freshman Charles ‘Chaz’ Mancino. Chaz, who is from Fredonia, NY, and is majoring in Mechanical Engineering, will occasionally post his thoughts about his freshman year experiences on Life at Kettering. If you’d like to write a guest blog post, e-mail phayes(at)kettering(dot)edu.
By Chaz Mancino
Note: This was originally published in The Technician.
I know what most of you are thinking: why should I bother reading an article about a freshman? A freshman! Especially a freshman whose high school mascot was the hillbilly?
Alright, maybe those are reasons to throw this article into a fire or bury it so no one will ever have the agony of reading it, but maybe those reasons also are reasons why one should read this. I might just be special enough to spruce up the busy daily lives of Kettering students.
Similar to those first steps in Kindergarten when even the tabletops were barely higher than my head, or when I stepped awkwardly into high school from middle school, I have been anxious for my life to unfold in front of me ever since I took my first steps into Kettering University as a freshman. However, unlike those past two times, I have a hunger to succeed because I have experienced failure. I, like the rest of the freshman class, have to let go of the past and let go of any unaccomplished dreams. But, at the same time, right now is the time to dream. Right now is the time to dig in deep. Right now is the time to look forward and forget the past. To me, the experiences in high school, whether good or bad, were preparation for the “real world.”
Many people told me before I left my hometown that I was about to enter the “real world.” There would be no more parental control, no more high school babying, and definitely no more using mom and dad’s money to buy food with. From now on I will have to fend for myself. However, the positives outweigh the negatives. Freedom to do whatever, the freedom to plan your own schedule, and, most importantly, the door of opportunity proudly sitting propped open for anyone who dares to pass through its opening. And so my journey through college begins here.
After I hugged my parents goodbye, I was officially an out-of-state freshman. Coming into Kettering, I knew two people. And only one of them was A-Section. I signed up for Camp C.O.M.P.A.S.S. at Grace Adventures to enter the “real world” earlier than most of my other classmates, but there I received a lot more than I had to give. At Camp C.O.M.P.A.S.S., I had the honor of meeting several students-both new-to-the-real-world freshman like me and experienced upperclassmen. As fate would have it, I was in the same group as my roommate, so I got to know him better before we moved into our small, cozy dorms. And, after struggling with a bucket with several ropes attached to it, a giant balancing board, a strength-testing ladder, and a very rickety ropes course, I learned to trust myself, trust others, and to COMMUNICATE! Would I have rather stayed at home melting my brain watching television, exercise my fingers courtesy of videogames, and continue living in the nest for another couple of days? No way. Camp was the door to the “real world,” not to mention it was fun too.
Orientation was another treat. Centered around all of the presentations, games, and social events were the freshmen. My personal favorites were Mike Green (“Alcohol 101”) and “The Dating Doctor.” Who else has the guts to stand in a room full of young adults and ask for pick-up lines? And always remember that Kettering students will do anything for a free t-shirt. Anything!
Alas, as the microscopic summer came to an end, the “real world” took every freshman hand-in-hand. Class, skip breakfast, class, lunch, class, nap, class, dinner, activities, shower, homework, and, at two in the morning, sleep. However, along with the death toll of summer came the death toll of our past lives. Now every freshman, yours truly included, has started wading towards the journey of our lives into the world of the unknown. The world where people run around looking for the existence of aliens, the world where Bigfoot roams the countryside, and the world where Star Wars becomes more of a reality than a dream every day thanks to engineers. Welcome, freshmen, to the real world. Let us just hope that it is prepared for us.