Columns / Discourse / October 19, 2016

Expectations of Knox: Finding a community

Two weeks before leaving home my grandma asked me, “What are you looking forward to at Knox?”

I sat still. I didn’t know what to say. Judging from the website, I knew that it was going to be academically challenging, and like my high school, I knew they valued community. But there were so many things I didn’t know. I didn’t know what my dorm looked like. I didn’t know if I overpacked or not. I didn’t even know if I picked out the right meal plan because I was still unsure how the meal plans worked.

I replied hesitantly, “The classes, I guess.”

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from Knox. I came for two reasons: the creative writing program and the scholarships. I applied to seven colleges and of those, Knox was the only one that I could afford.

When I came to Knox for orientation, it felt like a dream. I was finally on my own and away from home. I dreamt of this moment forever and now it was here. I explored Galesburg and couldn’t believe how tall the buildings were. They towered over me and didn’t quite look real. I was surprised at the quality of the Caf food and thankful that my orientation leader explained the meal plans. Likewise, I was so thankful that my RA was genuinely caring and sweet.

What little expectations I had were met. The classes are challenging, but not too challenging. Before coming to Knox, I thought the discussion based classes would be the death of me. And I admit, the first few days of class was stressful. I only talked when asked a direct question. Two weeks into classes, I pushed myself to talk and raise my hand more. I found that by challenging myself, it became easier.

The one thing that exceeded my expectations was the Ultimate Frisbee team. When I signed up for Ultimate at the club fair, I had no idea what I was getting into. I heard the word ‘frisbee’ and thought, “Oh, this will be fun and casual.” The members at the table asked if I ever played Ultimate before and I nodded my head. I played Ultimate Frisbee many times in high school.

Quickly, I realized I had never played this kind of Frisbee before. The first day of practice was intense. There were technical terms, different types of throws, and something called a “vertical stack.” I actually thought about quitting because it was so overwhelming.

However, I came to practice the next day and then the next. A couple days turned into a couple weeks and pretty soon, my throws and cuts were improving. I learned the terms and am still learning as new ones arise. Everyone on the team is supportive and that support was the reason I didn’t quit. They saw newcomers and took time to explain everything in detail and didn’t hesitate to explain a second, or even third, time. Ultimate Frisbee is fun, intense, and challenging. It is a sport that has entered my life and I doubt will ever leave it.

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