Welcome, or welcome back, Blue Hens. For those readers new to the blog, my name is Claire Davanzo, and I’m the resident junior here at 186. In keeping with the theme of this week (that is, how the blog team arrived at UD), I almost wish I had some picture perfect college story of my arrival for you… Almost, because things around me are never picture perfect, and there wouldn’t be much of a college story if they were.

So I’m here to tell you about the time UD almost UDidn’t.

With the help and guidance of my remarkable mother, I applied and was accepted to nine different universities. I’d visited each one, and at the beginning, it seemed almost impossible to choose between them. A few difficult decisions later, and I had narrowed my way down to two.

The first was The College of New Jersey: a home favourite, it’s less than an hour from Parsippany, my home town, and boasts a notably intelligent, selective group of students on a beautiful campus. The second, as expected, was the University of Delaware: decidedly farther from home, with a much larger, though equally beautiful, campus and almost no one I knew attending.

To help make my decision, I visited both schools again. Again, it would be nice to tell you that I “felt it,” or “just knew” when I came back to UD, but I didn’t. I didn’t know at all. The one thing that could reassure me was, again, my mom, this time promising that with all the amazing choices on my list of schools, I’d be happy no matter where I chose.

I thought orientation would help me feel The Spark. However, what it did (and I’ve no shame in admitting this) was make me all the more nervous, all the more wary. And so with the rest of collegiate preparations. The closer the beginning of my freshman year came, the more and more nervous I was beginning to feel.

… And then Hurricane Irene happened.

Hopefully this will be the first year at UD where my class and I do not have to deal with a hurricane. But, my freshman year, Irene was what pushed my move-in back. It was just enough time for me to calm my nerves and brace myself for college.

And I’m going to be honest with you. I did not fit with UD right away. It took more or less a month for me to feel like this school is where I belong. For me to settle into my classes and the rhythms of campus. For me to start calling Russell home instead of the dorm.

But (my homesick freshman hens, this is for you) it did happen. And I do know now that I’ve chosen the right place. I hope UDidn’t give up on UD just yet, because it’s a wonderful place to be. I hope you come to love it here as much as I do.

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