The first couple of weeks at Dickinson can definitely be a struggle. For freshman, campus seems huge and like everyone else knows where they are going, except you. Remembering the names of all the different locations and the various routes I could take to get there, I thought, would take a whole semester. Thinking it would be impossible to map out the entire campus in my head, I felt misplaced and lost. Then I began to realize that Dickinson is a beautifully simple and centralized campus. It did not take long for me to share the feeling of being able to consider myself a “Dickinsonian.”
I never thought I could feel so at home during my experience at Dickinson. There are so many welcoming and amazing groups of diverse individuals that I have met here. Even when it seems as though I cannot relate to another student in anyway, I always know there is somehow a connection between us. For one, we share the fact that we are pursuing our education at the same small, private, liberal arts college. But also, within the community, there is a list of unwritten vocabulary spoken in the language of a typical Dickinsonian.
An outsider would probably have a hard time distinguishing a regular conversation involving plans for dinner or studying. Eventually it becomes natural to use words such as “hub”, “snar”, “caf”, “lib”, and so on. In contrast, fellow students would not think it is natural to say Holland Union Building, Union Station, Cafeteria, and even library. From a more narrow perspective, when planning to go out on the weekend, my group of friends and I use Dickinson literacy to navigate to different locations. Among these are places we know as a number like “377” or a vague name such as “townhouse” or “lacrosse McKinney”. If one of us were to mention these to an outsider, they would probably be lost and very confused about what we are referring to. Having a unique language with my friends and the whole community creates a sense of homeliness and connectedness to the people that surround me the most. For me it also shows that no matter where I am at Dickinson, I know that I share some kind of relationship with someone when I least expect it.