One of my favorite rituals of the new school year is getting to know the members of the first year class over pizza at the House.
These are informal evenings: we chat, eat, and then I offer a brief tour of Sweet Briar House. It’s a wonderful way to tell new students the story of the College to which they now belong and to introduce them to some of the impressive women in whose footsteps they are (both literally and figuratively) walking. We talk about the well-educated businesswoman Indiana Fletcher Williams, the formerly enslaved nanny Martha Penn Taylor, founding president Mary Kendrick Benedict, scientist and physician Connie Guion, and many others too. The students tell me about their aspirations and dreams. At one table on Monday night, for example, there was an aspiring archeologist, a future orthodontist, a budding business owner, and a student whose goal it was to read as much about politics as she possibly could although she wasn’t sure exactly why!
This year I’m collecting comment cards. On pink cards, students are offering words or phrases that capture what they expected their first week or two at college to be like. On green cards, they are telling me something about what it was REALLY like.
I can’t wait to have had all these pizza evenings, to have met and talked with all new students, and to read the cards they’ve submitted to get a picture of what they hoped for and what they have found. I promise to share some of their comments here in a later post.