Waking up on Monday, August 14th, I had a basic idea of what I expected my first day of college to be like. I expected to navigate around crowds of people, see overly excited volunteers at check-in, and spend hours trying to set up my dorm. Little did I know, there was so much more waiting for me at the Civic Leaders Center.
As I walked into the Briscoe Quad for the first time, I was brimming with excitement, but also nervous at the same time. Those nerves were quickly calmed, however, as I was immediately greeted by the warm welcomes of the CLC staff. From signing in to helping us get on the elevator, the CLC staff made the move-in process flow much smoother than I thought it would be. Before I knew it, my room had been set up and it was time for dinner.
The large group of Civic Leaders walking to the Indiana Memorial Union must have been an interesting sight to see. Wearing matching CLC shirts in a sea of cream and crimson, I got my first taste of Hoosier pride. Although the majority of us had no idea where we were going, we somehow managed to make it to the IMU. The Welcome Dinner was held in the Alumni Hall, a place I imagine many people never see during their entire time at IU, let alone the very first day.
After giving us an opportunity to socialize, the entire group walked over to the edge of campus to take an iconic Sample Gates picture. I was honestly amazed by how we managed to squeeze all 104 of us into one picture. The welcoming process continued through dinner, where we listened to speeches from SPEA Executive Associate Dean Michael McGuire, CLC Director Paul Helmke, and former CLC student Savannah Wormley. Keeping with SPEA’s message of leading for the greater good, these speakers talked about what incredible opportunities lie before us. It made me begin to realize how special the CLC is, and made me excited go to bed because of what awaited me the next morning.
We awoke to an omelet bar for breakfast the next morning, and I can assure you it was delicious! After breakfast, we received a warm welcome from the Bloomington mayor John Hamilton, as well as from SPEA Dean John Graham. Besides telling us more about Bloomington, John Hamilton reminded us of the importance of being “persistent, patient, and polite.” Both speakers shared their past experiences and gave us pieces of advice that we could apply to our future careers.
Following this, we were given a chance to understand our fellow Civic Leaders more. We were split into groups and went through some interactive icebreaker activities. This gave us all a glimpse at just how unique each CLC member is, and definitely made me even more excited for the year to come. I really enjoyed how they emphasized the importance of being a team and how important it is to listen to what others have to say. After all, leadership is not only helping yourself succeed, it is also making sure that you help others achieve their goals as well.
After icebreakers and getting to know each other better, we got to meet with some representatives from the Indiana University Student Association (IUSA). This gave us our first look at IU student involvement. Additionally, we were able to ask any remaining questions we had to a CLC mentor panel. With how welcoming the first two days of welcome week were, I definitely felt myself becoming more comfortable with the campus and the people around me. I am so thankful that IU is my new home, and even more thankful for the CLC family I am becoming a part of.