Guest Column: Finding community at Northwestern

Dylan Browdie

Standing over a pile of clothing, a refrigerator, and a still-packaged printer (courtesy of Steve Jobs with the purchase of my off-to-college laptop), I paused for a moment to attempt to take in all that was now finally happening.

I was about to depart for Northwestern, and I didn’t quite know what to expect upon arrival. I suspected that most, if not all, of my fellow incoming freshmen had many of the same concerns and had considered many of the same uncertainties that I had.

Similarly, I suspected that almost all of my fellow incoming freshmen were some of the last college-bound folks still hanging around their hometown and were, accordingly, as ready to depart as I was.

After eight hours of the boring driving that only the Midwest can offer and one uncomfortable night in a packed hotel, I arrived on the Northwestern campus with a car full of personal items and a stomach full of first-day butterflies.

Even though I predicted (correctly) that welcome week would surely contain plenty of uncomfortable situations brought on by my naiveté. I hoped that the people with a lot more experience would help make Northwestern a friendly and welcoming place. That wish was granted the minute I set foot in the Bobb-McCulloch lobby and has continued to be granted in nearly every encounter I’ve had with upperclassmen or university staff member since my arrival.

The truly welcoming nature of Wildcat Welcome Week was centered in the friendliness of nearly every individual. Whether it was during move-in, a welcome week activity that was fun or a welcome week activity that maybe everyone could have done without, everyone that was already comfortable living at Northwestern went above and beyond in making me feel comfortable during my first week on campus.

As my fellow freshmen become more acquainted with each other and settle in, I hope that we can foster the same sort of welcoming and accepting community that I’ve perceived to be almost the norm here at Northwestern. Of all the Northwestern traditions and characteristics that I read about before making the decision to come here, none is as significant as the character of its community.

Dylan Browdie is a Weinberg freshman. He can be reached at [email protected]