Reflections about Orientation
Kathy Rogers '73 and Kathy Matheson
Kathy Rogers arrived at Lady Eaton College in September, 1973 to pursue a Bachelor of Arts joint in Psychology and History. Nearly 30 years later, Kathy returned to Lady Eaton College to help her niece, Kathryn Matheson, move into her room, in anticipation of beginning of Bachelor of Arts in Canadian Studies. Here are their respective reflections on life at Lady Eaton in the first few weeks.
What were you thinking about as you got to your new residence (in the college or off campus)?
K.R. Arriving at LEC south wing in September 1973, I felt a mixture of emotions ranging from excitement at the prospect of a new beginning, meeting new people, learning new things and being away from home, nervous about whether I would be able to handle the workload and maintain good grades. My Mom assured me that it would be like summer camp. My Dad who had gone to university was more realistic and gave me the advice to work hard, do my best and everything would be fine.
K.M. As I arrived at LEC north wing in September, 2000, I was excited to begin a new chapter in my education, but also feeling a little nervous about what lay ahead. I had moved into residence to begin university in another city the year before and, not finding the experience a good fit, had opted to come home and try again the following year. The scale and size of LEC, and the beauty of its surroundings, felt much more welcoming and community-oriented than what I had experienced the previous September. I remember unlocking the door to my room, one of the narrow ones next to the washrooms, and wondering how everything would fit, but it did!
What were the highlights, positive or negative about your first 2-3 weeks?
K.R. During the first week the best part was the feeling of being more grown-up/independent and participating in some social activities while at the same time hoping that I would fit in and not be homesick. The second and third weeks were interesting meeting professors and starting classes but also scary when they gave us the dates for the year when assignments/essays were due. It all felt very overwhelming at the beginning. By this time, I had met some fun people in my residence with whom I shared many laughs and good times.
K.M. The first week at LEC was filled with meeting new people and participating in Orientation Week activities. I recall one evening in particular when we gathered outside for a camp fire. The night was crisp and clear and I was amazed to see so many stars. I recall feeling very much like I was in the right place. The next couple of weeks were busy with starting classes and getting organized. I had taken two part-time Trent courses in Durham in the spring and summer, but was a little overwhelmed at the prospect of full-time studies, and worried that I might not do well. My professors were all friendly and welcoming and it was nice to recognize and sit with people from LEC in my classes on other parts of the Symons campus?
What did you think when your parents or friends got back in their car and drove off?
K.R. I felt very alone and unsure when my parents drove off but then I got busy settling in and that helped.
K.M. I remember worrying about whether my second attempt at university would work out. I was ready to be on my own, but nervous of failing. Almost immediately, I met my neighbour next door. She looked as uncomfortable as I felt and we soon got talking. We became good friends that year and had a lot of fun together.
What were your first impressions of college life?
K.R. The size of Tent and LEC in particular suited me very well. I knew that most first year students probably were experiencing much the same feelings as I was. Everyone was supportive and kind and I knew that there were older students and faculty that would listen and help me if I needed them.(It did take me a bit to get used to the cafeteria food at that time but I was used to a high standard as my mom was a good cook)
K.M. It took a while for me to understand the distinction between a residence and a college. When I met the Principal and the couple who were my Dons and lived with their family in an apartment in north, I began to understand that LEC was more than just a residence. I became familiar with the Junior Common Room and even worked in the Magpie Snack Bar. It was during this year that a group of students occupied administrative space at LEC in protest of the closure of Peter Robinson College downtown. Witnessing their action, I began to understand more fully the importance of Colleges to student life at Trent.