This past weekend, February 24th and 25th, I got to spend the night at Concordia University, the college I will be attending this fall, at their Concordia Crossing 2017 event. It was an amazing experience.
It all started early Friday morning. I woke up and got dressed in a red tank and red plaid sweater, packed up my bedding (I did not know we didn’t have a sleeping bag until that morning, so I have to stuff the Crash Pad in my closet into a trash bag with my blanket and pillow), put all my bags in the car and was ready to leave by 6:30 am. My dad drove since I didn’t know the way. He thought it would be best if we took 183 all the way to Concordia. When it got to be 7:40 am and we still weren’t even in Austin, we started to think we would be late. I emailed my admissions counselors, called one of them, and tweeted at the CTX twitter in an attempt to tell them that I would be late. I was supposed to be there by 8:30 am, and by that point it was clear that I wasn’t getting anywhere close to campus before 9 am.
The good news is that sitting in the car allowed me to enter a text-to-win contest on the radio to get some Jim Gaffigan tickets. I also realized that it is possible for me to be late and not completely freak out. Normally I am kinda weird about schedules. If I say I’m going to be there at a certain time, I will be there ten minutes before that time or something is going to get hurt. But, while I was sitting in that car, realizing I would be almost an hour late, I was pretty calm. It probably had to do with the fact that I was praying to be calm and the fact that I’ll be living at Concordia for the next four years so it didn’t really matter if I missed a little of this event.
At 9:15 we finally arrived. We went to the residence halls where check-in was supposed to be to find my old admissions counselor (I wasn’t in her district after I moved) and another person in a neon blue Staff t-shirt packing up. It was so late that they were moving check-in to the Welcome Center. I got back in the car with my dad and after a few minutes we followed the staff’s red car to the center. My dad dropped me off there. Inside, another lady took my bags inside to put them in the admissions offices until evening. They told me to hang out for a bit, all the other visiting students were in class. I was not sad to miss out on that, since, as I mentioned earlier, I’ll be attending Concordia for the next four years. I’ll have plenty of time to be in class. A few of the Staff said hi to me, and one sat down and started a conversation. She was very friendly. Class was over at about 10 am, and then chapel started.
I sat in the front row in the far right set of seats. I started out in the set to the left, but then I was directly in front of the pulpit and I found that a little uncomfortable. Another Staff sat next to be during chapel and talked to be a little before hand. She was very nice. The sermon that day was the last in a series about how God has given each of us different gifts, different talents. He spoke about a writer who went blind and was in despair because he could no longer use the gift that God had given him. But it was actually totally okay. I don’t remember exactly why, it was something about God doesn’t need our gifts and talents, He loves us no matter what we do. Or something like that.
After that we all went out in front of the chapel, where they had set up a table of snacks. They gave everyone a brown bag to fill with as many snacks as we wanted, in case we got hungry throughout the day. We would have about half an hour to hang out. A staff member introduced me to a girl named Beulah, who introduced me to Grace and Jessica. They were all Hispanic girls who were also most likely going to attend Concordia. We talked until it was time for the tours.
Staff took us on tours of campus. I stayed at the very front of the tour group, as I always do. It was a nice tour, I always love seeing the CTX campus. It is beautiful.
After that was lunch, which was in the dining hall. Beulah, Grace, Jessica and I all ate together. I had a big salad, macaroni and cheese, grilled chicken, and fries. I had milk to drink. The four of us exchanged Instagram usernames and talked about our interests. We got along really well. Once we were done we got ice cream cones and went to the bookstore, since we had a lot of time to spare. I got a t-shirt I had seen on the online bookstore that was on sale, and Beulah got a drawstring bag to carry her things.
Finally it was time for the sessions. First was Student Life. Grace, Beulah and I went to that. Jessica went to the athletics one. The student life played some name games and talked about all the activities on campus. They do a lot of fun things, from Mister Twister to an annual party boat to rock climbing to normal clubs. The people who run the mission trips also talked. Concordia does a lot in out of country missions. They also gave away free stuff for asking questions. I got a keychain and a sticker. They had two cool t-shirts, but I didn’t know they were just up for grabs as we were leaving, so I didn’t get them. Two dudes did.
The next session was Student Success. I sat in the front row. They had candy, one big soft peppermint and two mini York patties. This session made me less scared about college, because they talked about all that they do to help students. They do a lot to support the students in finding jobs and internships, in passing their classes, and in helping their mental health. I also learned that boys are annoying. There were a few boys in this session who just kept talking and making stupid jokes.
After that was more hangout time. My squad sat on the couches by some boys, the same boys who had been loud during the second session. They were still being annoying.
After that we went on a charter bus to downtown Austin. Beulah, Grace, Jessica and I power walked to the bus so we could get front seats so that we could be the first to pick seats on the double decker bus in Austin. But first, we had to get to down town. The Staff told the driver, an older African American woman, to take a short cut. The short cut was through the rich part of town that is extremely hilly. We actually rolled back several feet on one really steep hill. It was scary.
Eventually we arrived at our destination, with plans to NOT take the short cut back to campus. My squad got seats on the top of the double decker bus. The tour of downtown austin was really cool. I learned a lot, and I had fun pointing out spots from the Servant Girl Annihilator audio tour. One spot, where one victim was found dead, the tour guide asked me to repeat so she could tell the entire bus. That was pretty cool.
On the charter bus back to campus we had Jimmy Dean turkey wraps for dinner. I spent most of the ride listening to a cute guy talk to the photographer and a guy that I think is slightly Autistic about cyber safety. Apparently this guy knows how to do some serious, illegal stuff with computers. He has a website to teach others about cyber safety. I wanted to ask for the site, but I was to shy.
We got back to campus around 7pm, in time for Trivia night. My squad joined up with six other girls to form The Aguas. We had a lot of fun eating frozen chocolate covered bananas and answering questions. We did not win the competition, however. We were pretty sure that we got 3rd place, but there was no prize for that. First and second places got Starbucks gift cards.
After that was 909, which is student lead worship. The music and message were amazing. I danced and I cried. Though I may have been emotional because I was so tired.
After worship we (another high school student and our college student host) went to the dorms. I slept on the floor. I got a good solid five hours of sleep, then I tossed and turned for a few hours. I was the first one to wake up in the morning, and I left as everyone else was just waking. I had to leave my things in a Staff’s office because there was some confusion. My host said I could leave my things in her room, but the check out staff told me I couldn’t, then the check-in staff said I could have. So I left my stuff in an office.
I got breakfast from the table they had set up outside of the chapel. I had two cinnamon rolls, some strawberries, some orange juice, and some hot chocolate. At 10am we had chapel, then the morning sessions began.
I went to Painting with a Twister, and I sat next to an African American high school student who will be majoring in Psychology. She and I will probably have a lot of classes together.
After the painting session we went to the tailgate. I had a free hotdog, free chips, free cookies, free cupcake, and free water. I played games with my new friends. I watched part of a baseball game, CTX against Concordia Chicago. I got my face painted. It was a lot of fun.
The last event for me was the preserve tour. I got to see a few of the trails on the CTX preserve with an amazing tour guide that works on/with the preserve, a few staff girls, and a few people that are family of current or incoming students. That was really cool and absolutely beautiful.
Finally, I had to go get my things from the office they were left in. I was so proud of myself, I found the office and made my way back to the welcome center at the chapel all by myself! There I waited for my dad to pick me up, and then we headed to my grandmother’s house.
I loved every minute of my visit to CTX, and I cannot wait to go there this fall! This visit has resolved any fears I had about going to college. Sure, I’m still nervous, and I know it won’t all be free food and rainbows, but I also know that CTX is home. I felt at home there.