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I started college at Colgate University as a mid-year student, meaning I started in January, after Christmas break. I remember it pretty well, considering how long ago it seems. I had spent the fall working and had just gotten off a plane from visiting a friend at Arizona State University. I took a shuttle from the airport with all of my gear and enough stuff to last me until my parents showed up with all my stuff. I arrived for my first evening at school at about 8:00pm and had no idea where I was going or how to find the dorm I was living in. Luckily my roommate-to-be happened to be on the same shuttle (such luck!) and showed me the way.
I had been away from home for four years already, having gone to boarding school, so being homesick was not an issue at that point. However, having missed the first week of school (orientation week), where students get to know each other and make some friends, as well as the first 3 months of school, I felt like a bit of an outsider. Having to kind of break into the already established friend groups was a bit unnerving. For the first week or two I pretty much did my own thing, watched, listened, went to classes and learned the ropes. I had met a few kids in my dorm and some others and was starting to figure out who I might get along with, and then it happened.
My parents had sent me a care package several days earlier and told me to keep an eye out for it. I walked into the mailroom, as most students did at least once per day. Some socializing took place (no phones or tablets WAY back then) but the allure of possibly getting a package was too strong not to check. I found my mailbox, turned the dials to set my combination, opened the mailbox and there it was; a tan post card letting me know there was a package waiting for me at the counter! My heart leapt and I could hardly contain my excitement. I strutted proudly over to the counter and handed the attendant my card, my ticket to the goods. She came back around the corner with a giant box, maybe 2’ cubed and my eyes lit up. I signed for the package and headed for my room.
Now, keep in mind that living in a dorm means that there are people around and when you walk into that dorm with a giant box people are going to notice. So I made it to my room with a dozen or so extremely interested and curious looks and a few minutes later I was pawing through the stash to see what the goodies were. After helping myself to a few tasty treats I set out to wander the halls. Shortly thereafter I had made it to the second floor and noticed a guy I had seen a couple times. My manners got the better of me and not even knowing his name I blurted out “I’m Bart, wanna cookie?” There was a quick pause as he looked at me with a bit of ‘that was a strange way to introduce yourself’ on his face, then he said pleasantly, “sure”. I shared my take with him and he introduced himself as Jon. We have been good friends ever since, sharing an apartment the following year and living in our fraternity our junior and senior years.
To this day, while we don’t see each other as much as we would like, when we do we always joke about just a few things, and one is always my “I’m Bart, wanna cookie?” introduction.
Getting a care package in college or boarding school is always an exciting event and really never gets old. Whether an exam care package, back to school care package or a just because care package, it gives students an opportunity to share with friends and even make new ones. Whether students decide to share their spoils or not, it is a sure way to make their day just a little brighter and have a good trove of snacks on hand for the near future.