What They Didn’t Tell Us At College Orientation

Potter (center) latched onto Rugby at NC State, as seen in action versus Virginia Tech. (Photo credit – Kevin Keister)
By Allison Potter

Last summer, I graduated from The Epiphany School of Global Studies in New Bern as I anticipated going to NC State in the Fall. Soon after graduating I attended orientation at NC State where they told me everything that I needed to know. However, despite all of the slideshows, tours, and meetings, there was nothing that could have prepared me for leaving Pamlico County for the first time to go to a much bigger city.

Going from a small town and a really small high school to NC State was really shocking. In my first two weeks of college I met more people than I had gone to high school with! Soon after starting classes there were all these events where sports and club sports lined up in rows to advertise for new members.

Overwhelmed by all of the choices, I ended up signing up for four different club sports including women’s basketball, women’s soccer, women’s rugby, and sport fishing. Ultimately, I ended up choosing rugby, which was the sport I was least familiar with. The Women’s Rugby Club at NC State was the team that really shaped my college experience, and my advice to rising college freshmen is to find your equivalent to rugby. The team was huge, with about 70 players, and it gave me a space to unwind and relax while learning an entirely new, and slightly dangerous sport.

At orientation, we became aware of clubs and organizations that could help our careers, and we also learned of religious and political groups. I also joined a Bible study during my first year, and I plan on joining a club that has to do with my major, but rugby was a sport that was just so ‘out there’ for me to the point where the chaos brought relief to my busy and sometimes stressful schedule.

From the advice from others, orientation, and other experiences, I knew that college would be a big shift and large change in my life. I was scared, nervous, excited, and joyful all at once when I was moving in. Going from Champion Sport and Fitness in Bayboro to a four-story gym with a rock climbing wall was a huge adjustment, but going out on lakes and creeks with my fishing pole made it feel like home. My advice to any graduating senior going to a new city or new college, or anyone facing large changes in their lives would be this: Find your Pamlico County, whether that be a fishing spot, a club, a sport, or just anything that makes you feel like you are in a tight knit community, because that is what home feels like!