In the weeks approaching my departure to Mac, I was naturally nervous. I was worried about meeting my roommate, feeling homesick, dealing with a college workload, making friends--everything! But I needn't have worried because I actually ended up having an extremely smooth transition.
I love hiking and being in the wilderness, so once I got accepted to Mac I signed up for a pre-orientation program called Macward Bound. Essentially you arrive early on campus, meet ~40 other Mac students (eek!), and then split off into small groups and go on a 5 day hiking trip with your ~7 person group. Over the course of my trip I had an amazing time hiking and exchanging stories/backgrounds with the other students. All in all, Macward Bound ended up being an invaluable experience for me. I not only bonded with other Mac students, but the trip allowed me to become more comfortable in my new environment. Thanks to Macward Bound, Orientation was not as daunting of a process. I already had a small group of friends that I was fairly comfortable with, and this made it easier to meet new people. By the end of Orientation I realized that my first experiences at Macalester couldn't have gone any better. It's truly amazing what a hike in the woods can do!
If you are interested in Macalester and end up getting accepted, I highly recommend Macward Bound to anyone who is looking for a nice way to transition from home to college. Or if hiking isn't your thing, there are other pre-orientation programs that you may want to look into. I know of Lives of Commitment, a group who routinely volunteers for community service. I'm not sure of the details, but I believe they commute to the Twin Cities each week to teach English to children from foreign countries.
Anyway, that was all about my college transition. More to come next week about my first month and a half (already!?) at Mac.