Welcome to Merrimack, freshmen, and welcome back returning students! It is difficult to think that it has already been a full month of living at Merrimack, but I already feel like this is my second home, and I hope you feel the same way! As a freshman, I can confidently say that in this first month, I have already made so many great memories and even greater friends. I remember the week leading up to move-in day. I was nervous yet still very excited to be living on campus. I was also looking forward to being independent, something that I and most freshmen have never been before.
As an incoming freshman, I anticipated that moving in would be complicated and overwhelming. Thankfully I was wrong, the move-in crew, made up of mostly students, made the process as smooth and positive as possible. It was reassuring to know that I could focus on moving in while they did all the heavy lifting, literally. I will admit that saying goodbye to my family was difficult, but I knew that I would always be welcome and supported here at Merrimack. Once I was completely moved in, I had my first college meal. Eating at Sparky’s for the first time was surprisingly satisfactory given the many options for food and drinks. I am not a particularly picky eater, but I was pleasantly surprised at what Sparky’s had to offer that night. As someone who has now eaten there for a month, I encourage all students who have a negative image of Sparky’s to go there and try again with an open mind. While their food may not be the perfect homemade dish you crave sometimes (double check those chicken breasts), I think the food workers there work hard and should be greeted with a smile. One challenge I did face was choosing between the 19 and 13 meal plans, and understanding what “warrior dollars” and “dining dollars” are. As expected at first, as a new student I was very confused. Though, once us students understood the meal plans it was not that difficult to comprehend. The location of Andover is nice as well, since CVS and a collection of restaurants are just a brief walk from campus. I will note that I have not taken the campus shuttle bus, mainly due to how hesitant I am with the schedule, especially for someone who rarely took the bus in my small hometown of Nantucket.
The first week of orientation had many great events, and they were all sufficiently serviced to help the first years adjust to campus life. I remember the trivia games, sponge tosses, late-night mini golf game, and I even got some free Merrimack merch. The Corq app has also made keeping up with campus events much simpler too. The first few football games I attended were electrifying and a great way to spend a Friday night. As a first year I was pleasantly surprised with how many clubs I have been able to easily join, from MCTV, relay for life, and even The Beacon! (thank you for supporting this club) This first month at Merrimack was certainly full of many new people, places and things that I have never done before, but overall I have had so much fun in just this first month and it has all made feel like committing to Merrimack was the best thing I have ever done.