A new home in the dorm and beyond

Ah, the beginning of a new school year. For many of us, it is the beginning of a new experience: college life.

Let’s face it, most of the things that make us who we are start in where we come from.

My love for flying came from my uncle when he flew into my hometown airport in his airplane that he built in his own living room.

My good friend went home and rediscovered why she wanted to major in biology: she loves being outside when she is at home.

But for some of us, it has also been a time to be thankful for the great place that we call home for eight months of the year.

The campus that all of you will call home has more than just academic halls and 21,000 students. It is also the home of great new thoughts, ideas, friendships and adventures.

To the new students, freshmen and transfers alike, I would like to offer you one piece of advice: get out of the dorms and get involved. Find a way to make this entire campus your home away from home. Find a place in a building or outside to sit, relax and just chill. I guarantee you will all need someplace to relax by the time you get through your first month here on campus.

I personally like the fourth floor of the Union. It has big, comfortable chairs and couches, it’s out of the way and it’s quiet most of the time.

There are so many things to do here on campus, whether you want to get involved with community service or dive into one of the craziest groups on campus, BG UNDEAD, the Bowling Green United NERF Defense for the Elimination of Animated Dead.

Essentially, the BG UNDEAD is a game with NERF guns and bandanas. This group is lots of fun for a few weeks each semester.

You will find residence hall rooms are small. Essentially your entire house, except the bathroom, is condensed into a 15-by-7-foot space.

In that confined space, you can find things you would never find in your home. You find new friends and a place to get help on your latest report.

As Bernard Little, last year’s Undergraduate Student Government president, said in my BGeXperience address, “While I lived in the dorms, I found my best man, now all I have to do is find my wife.” You never know what you will find in your residence hall or on campus. There is so much here to discover.

But there is a danger. With so many things on campus to do, you can become overworked very easily and find yourself with too much to do.

Don’t get involved in everything you want to be in. You need to balance schoolwork and leisure.

Don’t try to spread yourself too thin. There is always something to do, but remember, you are here to learn above all else.

Like University President Sidney Ribeau pointed out in his welcome-back e-mail, “Our campus is continually growing and improving in many ways, mirroring the fact that college itself is a time of change and development, of opportunities to achieve personally and forge relationships that will live on beyond your years here.”

You hit the nail right on the head, Mr. President.

I invite all of you to go out and find things that will challenge you. Not only academically, but also mentally, physically and spiritually; after all, one of the core values of the University is intellectual and spiritual growth.

I have called Bryan, Ohio, home for the past four months, but I think coming back to this campus that has given me so much to do, so much to think about and so much to look forward to makes BGSU just as good, if not better, than home.

I seem to call this place home a lot more often than I do Bryan. For those returning students, welcome home. For the newcomers to the University, welcome, and let’s all have a great stay.