Lee Hayman

Lee Hayman and her sister Addy in Lee's new dorm room at Denison University. - Lee Hayman

Every year The MV Times asks four recent high school graduates to write about their experiences during their first year after graduation. Lee Hayman is attending Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

Well, it’s finally here, the highly anticipated yet somewhat daunting college move-in day! There are the super-peppy senior orientation leaders clinging to one last year before the “real world,” nervous freshmen dragging suitcases and Pinterest-worthy photo collages of their BFFs from home up four flights of stairs, oh, and my mom crying in the background as we lug everything I think I will need for my first semester of my freshman year at college into my dorm room. My new home is a 10-foot by 14-foot rectangle in a freshmen dorm, with carpeting our neighbors have kindly told us smells like “lunchmeat.” Personally, I don’t think it’s that bad, and that’s what Febreze is for, right?

Out of all my friends, I think I was the most confident that we were all ready to head off to college, so the homesickness I felt my first week was surprising. I think heading off to college coming from the Vineyard is a unique situation. College is the first time a lot of us leave our parents, family, and, don’t forget, pets, but we also leave the Island, which is a goodbye all its own. On my first day a girl in my orientation group asked me if my Martha’s Vineyard–shaped necklace was supposed to be a mustache, which reminded me that, Oh yeah, I am now living in central Ohio, and some people have never even heard of my Island home. It’s funny when I have to say I’m from Boston for people to have a clue where I am from, when I actually live two hours away.

Right now, I’m doing my first load of laundry, and it took my roommate and me at least 10 minutes to figure out how to work the machines. Our situation is not unique, as I’m pretty sure everyone on my floor has done the same thing. Everyone here is in the same boat, which is why I think the first week is so giddy and surprisingly fun. Everyone at my school has been extremely welcoming and understanding, and I’m trying to meet as many people and sign up for as many things as possible. There are actually so many great groups, organizations, and sports teams on my campus, I feel blessed to be at a school surrounded by people who so openly speak up for what they believe in and participate in what they love. I have this feeling after being on campus less than a week, which I think speaks volumes about my school.

My new friends and I have already ventured to Target, a few towns over; gone into town to get coffee; gone to a soccer game; volunteered for a charity; and possibly gone to a couple of parties — sorry, Mom and Dad — and for someone who tends to overcommit myself, I can see how budgeting my time is going to be insanely difficult but also essential here. There is so much I am looking forward to this year, from hanging out in my dorm with people who are quickly becoming my close friends, to taking classes on things I never heard of in high school, and becoming a college athlete, it’s all finally happening, pretty much all at once. For now, I’m taking it one day at time and enjoying everything new that college has to offer, and hopefully not getting lost on the way to my first class tomorrow morning.