Photo by Barbara Piancastelli
Photo by Barbara Piancastelli

A Rude Awakening

What’s worse than being woken up by your alarm clock bright and early in the morning? Being woken up by the fire alarm in the middle of the night! Especially if it means having to tell the admitted student asleep on your floor that she has to stand outside in the middle of winter in her pajamas until the fire department comes!

This semester, I am a host for high school seniors who come to spend what is called an OverKnight here at Arcadia. The program gives admitted students a chance to sleep over and attend classes with a current Arcadia student in order to get a better feel for the academic and social environments on campus. At night, visiting students are taken to an event on campus; a lacrosse game, the school play, laser tag, you name it. And then, in the morning, they get to sit in on a real college class.

When I discovered the program early this year, I was surprised I hadn’t heard about it sooner. What better way to test out a school than by walking a day in a current student’s shoes? I thought. I wish I had known about this when I was applying to schools! And what I loved most of all was the fact that the experience introduces the students to both the academic and social aspects of student life. The admitted students get to have some fun and go to class; that way, they are exposed to everything Arcadia has to offer.

So, I signed up and headed off to the Castle to pick up my first visitor of the semester. On the walk over, I was so nervous! I could practically hear my teeth chattering as I thought, What if she gets bored? What if we have nothing to talk about? I wanted to make a good first impression; the last thing I wanted was for things to be a total snooze fest.

But, to my relief, Sarah* was sweet, friendly, and super nice and as we hiked up the stairs to my dorm room discussing the latest drama on Teen Wolf, I knew things were going to be just fine. I asked her about the college-search process and she told me she was glad it would be coming to an end soon! Because I had been in her position just last year, I knew exactly how she felt. And so, after chatting like two old friends for the majority of the night, we went to bed, both glad to have found a new friend.

Two lazy, sleepy hours later, the musky smell of burnt popcorn wafted past my nose and I was forced awake by the screeching sound of the fire alarm.

I was still half asleep, but somehow I managed to grab my keys and shove my feet into the correct shoes. As I reached for the doorknob, ready to join the throng of sleepwalking hall mates headed to safety, I saw that Sarah was still sound asleep on my floor!

Oh, I SO do not want this to be how she wakes up on her first day at Arcadia! I thought. But, what could I do?! I couldn’t just leave her there! I crouched down quietly to avoid startling her and gently nudged her shoulder. When, at last, she pried her eyes open, I had to practically shout over the blaring alarm for her to grab some shoes and follow me.

Five minutes later, we stood shivering outside in the bitter chill of February with the rest of my building. Thankfully, nothing had caught on fire and we didn’t have to stay outside for too long, but as Sarah and I looked around us at the huge group of people in fuzzy slippers and bathrobes, we both burst out laughing. It looked like one gigantic slumber party gone horribly wrong. One thing was for sure: Her experience at Arcadia was anything but boring!

Editor’s Note: Admitted students can also take advantage of Arcadia’s Day on Campus program, which allows you to experience a typical class day at Arcadia University.

*This name has been changed for confidentiality purposes.

Photo by Barbara Piancastelli