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New Student Orientation 2004

Student’s Journal: John Wilson
My first steps on campus are welcomed by a minor state of chaos. The key to my room is nowhere to be found and the roommate I thought I had isn’t mine. The information they sent me is incorrect. Aside from that, everything else is going well in moving on campus.

I love the school’s way of educating us about its past. Very inspirational and moving. The moment I enjoy most today is the African performance with the dancers and drums. Though the program is lighthearted, we were informed about the expectations of being a “candle in the dark” and the closest thing to God is a Morehouse Man.

My intentions for tonight is to be in bed by midnight but those plans are cancelled after a lengthy residence hall meeting…and an honest attempt at organizing my room that holds me up until 3 a.m.

So much is taught to us today, including the history of Morehouse College. The speakers come with a good purpose and talk about topics that appeal to the freshmen. Their thoughts are backed with experience and reveal how it really is so that we won’t make the same mistakes.

We appreciate our position in the Class of 2008. They tell us that of the three who applied for each spot, we are the ones that made it here. The schedule for this whole program is very tight, sometimes overlapping into other time slots, but it’s all has working out. I believe the demands put on us during NSO will help us start the year off right.

Dr. Calvin Mackie comes with some revelations for our class. Enthusiastic about our futures, he shares his own hardships with us to prove that we can overcome obstacles and achieve success no matter what others say.

He tells many stories and has many sayings. One of the most memorable is the gift of the absent father. Though absent, he still may have given them something, such as anger. His quote, “Be unique and a leader. I would rather go to hell by choice then go to heaven following a crowd,” really strikes me. To me, it seems like some people would rather get to heaven no matter what—even if salvation comes by following a crowd. To go to heaven on your own actions, is better than following a crowd.

For the first time since we have been here, we have some free time—something we’ve grown accustomed to not having. The departing ceremony is a very emotional time. Though my parents have already left, I feel some of the sadness and pride in the room as other parents say goodbye to their sons. As the parents make their way from campus, we realize it’s time to get to business.

Last night I didn’t sleep at all. Talking and singing the school hymn with my brothers at 5 o’clock in the morning is rough. This morning we are fed the rich history of Morehouse by upperclassmen. They want us to be sure we know where we are so that we may carry ourselves accordingly. After today’s activities, I believe in what we have been told many times: “It was not by accident that we are here.” God has a plan for me and he will make great things from me.

Finally! I get some much-needed time for self-reflection and rest. Most of that rest comes while being bounced around for registration. My registration isn’t complete because the system is down and my computer is not working so I can’t make any progress this weekend either.

Our Alumnus and Spirit Night ceremony was really fun. For the first time, many of us are excited about school. At the end of the ceremony we have something like a pep rally where we learn some Morehouse songs and the stories behind them. Another great accomplishment is now we can wear Morehouse apparel.

This morning is the best of all this week. I sleep until 1:30 p.m. and then still have time to go to the mall. Later, we have the Olive Branch with Patricia Russell-McCloud, one of the best speakers I have heard in my life.

The student body leaders also have some great points to make to us about the unity that we should show as men of the Atlanta University Center. After that is the real fun of the week with the gathering of all AUC schools. For the first time the ladies—who were from Spelman, Morris Brown and Clark Atlanta University—and the gentlemen are coexisting. It is a night of enjoyment and of forming connections.

We are assigned our Spelman sisters today and many of us are pleased. My sister, Ashley Gilmore, turned out to be really cool and down to earth. I believe that during this semester of adjustment she will be there for me to talk to.

The morning convocation brings us together like a big family. We file into the church and sit together as brother and sister. Dressed in their ceremonial robes, the Spelman and Morehouse presidents speak and give us their expectations of us.

Then, afterward there’s time for more rest—again—which was needed after many of my brothers, including myself, spend some time at the promenade meeting new people. We stay out much later than we should have and get into bed around 3 a.m.

It’s a slow day in an attempt to rest for the start of classes tomorrow. Today we take a library tour and I complete my registration. This semester, I’m taking Calculus, English Composition, Spanish, Engineering Graphics and World History. Tonight, there are a lot of clubs doing a welcome back thing so campus will be empty.

Today, we have to do our academic profile, which tracks where we are pre-Morehouse and, when we graduate, post-Morehouse. I wrote a short essay about my proudest day and answer 36 questions testing reading comprehension and math. After my academic profile I chill with my Spelman sister for about an hour and get some rest before the big day tomorrow. Whew!

John Wilson is a freshman Computer Science and Engineering major from Bessemer City, N.C. After finishing this article, Wilson returned to his dorm room where he immediately began writing a paper for his World History class. “I’m going to graduate on time. Morehouse is expensive,” he said.

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