— Teresa Lynch
Unlike in the past, this year, returning students were only asked to be at the Monday morning meet-and-greet session of the Orientation Week and the closing Friday night reception. This change gave the incoming group a better opportunity to get to know one another before diving headfirst into fall courses. They will, after all, be spending quite a bit of time together in the beginning of their coursework and are mostly in the same shoes, being the new students on the block. Although it is unlikely that you will hear any grumbles from returning students about the change in orientation attendance requirements, there may be a slight disconnect between the newcomers and the veterans. But, never fear! In an effort to introduce the incoming class, we asked each person what they would have loved to bring to Bloomington from their homes. Considering the new class is comprised of individuals born and raised all over the world, including Bloomington, Indiana, the responses were as varied as they were provocative.
One of the things that’s exciting about moving to a new place is the opportunity to try out the local restaurants. On the other hand, there’s something about the food from home that always hold a special place in our hearts. The new group proved to be no exception. Their longings ranged from a family’s organic vegetable garden ripe with squash and peppers , a faraway nation’s culinary traditions and flair, and yummy delights by a culturally savvy father. If they had a suitcase that could carry such precious pieces of home, they would have reveled in that magic.
Suitcases were also constraining in other ways. One of the incoming students couldn’t fit a bike helmet in hers. Had she been able to bring it, maybe she’d be already geared up and ready to hit the lovely Bloomington outdoors. So, if anyone is able to loan a spare bike helmet, it will be much appreciated.
Others would have brought a boat to sail across Bloomington’s lakes or hunting equipment for the outdoor sportsmanship they enjoy. Perhaps the natural settings of Bloomington will stand somewhat in lieu for the newcomers who wish to bring the sunsets over the misty West Cascades or the bird rescue center where birds perch fairytale-like on outstretched hands. And birds weren’t the only animal the new students wished they has brought along to Bloomington. Teddy, Buster, and other canine companions have, at least for the moment, not made the move to town.
Although entertainment isn’t hard to come by in Bloomington, the rest of the incoming crew seemed in agreement that bringing the sounds and past times from home would have been nice. Whether that means bringing a guitar or acoustic drum set, a theatre exclusively playing colorful, musical, and dramatic Bollywood films, a Wii that could never have been commandeered from a niece and nephew, the live theatre where one worked and played, or the entirety of SEC football (Go Dawgs!), it sounds like Bloomington’s entertainment scene would have gotten a boost from what the new group would have brought.
Despite not being able to pack these things in a suitcase and carry them here, the new group has brought them in some ways along for the ride through grad school. Though missed, perhaps they will find things here in Bloomington to act as placeholders for all of these things. At the very least, what they have shared shows a diverse, fun group that promises to enrich our department. Good luck to you all and welcome!