Freshman Orientation, the first taste of freedom to millions of new college students each year. Myra University held its orientation during the last week of July and the first week of August. New students came to the campus and stayed three nights in the dorms while they meet the other freshmen, figured out their class schedules, learned the University’s rules and traditions, played community building games, and generally had a good time. Ninety percent of the students came from Willow Groove, which meant Amber felt a like an outsider for most of the first day.
The day began with a tour of the campus. Just about every building was styled in Collegiate Gothic, giving Amber the feeling of the whole University being pluck right out of England and deposited here. Creepy and romantic all at the same time. The campus was layed out in overlapping squares, with the main quad in the center circled by the primary academic buildings. The administration building stood at the north end with the science buildings running down the left side and the arts and humanities buildings on the right side. At the south end stood the student union, called the “Wingate Club”. On the outer loop of the campus stood all of the student and faculty housing. All unmarried students were required to live on campus while enrolled. Also, all faculty at or below the Assistant Professor level recieved a one-bedroom apartment in the faculty housing free of charge.
Upon first hearing about the requirement to live on campus all four years, Amber was slightly disappointed. She intended in living in the dorms as a freshman, but also intend on getting an apartment during her sophomore or junior year. Her attitude quickly changed when the orientation mentor explained student housing composes the dorms, 2 apartment buildings (one reserved strictly for graduate students) and twelve sorority and fraternity houses. The mentor went on to explain that ninety percent of students joined a sorority or fraternity by the time they became a junior and most of them required members to live in their house. Freshmen could apply, and if accepted, their housing would be moved to the house prior to the start of classes. Amber never had really thought about joining a sorority, but if 90% of the students joined one, should she at least check them out.
The tour wandered through the science buildings with the mentor identifying all of the important rooms to freshmen, like the Gen Chem lecture hall. The group was just about the leave the chemistry building when one of the girls asked about a showcase fully of trophy’s and delta pi sigma in big capital Greek letters on the back wall.
“Oh, that is the building’s sponsor showcase. Each sorority and fraternity on campus sponsors one of the academic buildings. Delta Pi Sigma sponsors this building, so all of the trophy’s they have won over the previous years stay here,” the mentor said. Amber really wished she could remember the mentor’s name. She remember she is starting her junior year and is a molecular biology major, but couldn’t remember her name.
“What does sponsoring involve?” the same girl asked.
“The building’s sponsor is responsible for making the building be a shinning example of the University. Formally, the students put on the alumni open house each spring and the senior students will attend fundraising and professional networking events held by the building’s department. Some of the houses make pledges clean their sponsor buildings while others hold initiation in the buildings. It kinda depends on the house and the building’s department. Any ways, we need to get moving along. There is lots more of the campus to see before lunch.”
The tour wandered through the rest of the buildings on the quad while the guide pointed out important parts and occasionally adding bits of trivia. Myra University is not very large, allowing the tour to walk through the general student areas of every building before returning to the Wingate Club for lunch.
The guide stopped the group before the cafeteria, “That concludes today’s tour. This afternoon you will schedule your classes. Please go to the academic building where your major is located. There will be signs to tell you which room you will need to go to. Most of you go to the department’s office, but a few larger majors do registration in other rooms. Late this afternoon on the quad, you will find the student activities fair, where many of the different RSOs will have booths and games setup. You ladies, I’ll be at the Sigma Epsilon Xi booth. Also, if you look at the back of your information back you will find my contact info. Feel free to email me, but I’ll also see everyone tomorrow morning! Any questions?” Everyone just shook their heads as they fumbled with their information folders. “Good! Now lets get some lunch!” she said as she turned and led the way into the cafeteria.
Amber did not follow the group, instead glanced around to find a restroom. The left side of the main lobby contained the glass display windows of the bookshop while the right side contained display windows of various university sports and academic teams with the entrance to the student government offices in the center. Without any signs, Amber guessed there must be restrooms upstairs. She weaved her way through the flow of traffic to make it to the right twin of the marble stairs. The quick tapping of her heels was drowned out by the general commotion, though became distinct as she made her way down the hall on the second floor. She found different student services offices lining the first section of the hallway.
The clicking became more apparent as she followed the hallway to the right. She slowed her pace to preserve the tranquility of the hardwood lined hallway. The dark oak paneling was nicely accented by cove lights running the entire length. Amber was enjoying the beauty before her when she heard noises coming from a closed door ahead of her. A older women’s voice became barely audible as she heard the solid oak door. Amber figured she must have been yelling to be heard through such a heavy door.
Amber reached the doorway and the women stopped. The crisp pop startled Amber, causing her to stop half a step beyond the door. She couldn’t place it, but is sounded like a muffled firecracker. Pop. There she heard it again, then again and again. The last of which was followed by a high pitched noise. Amber went through everything she could think of that would be causing such an odd noise at the university as the popping sound and high pitch response continued every 20 seconds or so. She glanced up and down the hallway before leaning closer to the door. The popping sound became louder but the response was sitting unintelligible.
Amber was just about to place her ear to the door when the clicking sounds of heels on hardwood echoed from the lobby direction. She quickly became alert and glanced around for an exit. The ladies room was on the other side of the hall, a few yards down the hallway. Her heart began to race as she made it quickly, but quietly to the restroom. She eased the door shut before slipping into a stall and taking a deep breath.
Safe! Why was she running? She was snooping, but no one would know if she just continued normally down the hall. No matter, she was here at her original destination, she thought to her self. A button, a zipper and a paper toilet seat cover then she was ready to take care of business and get back to lunch. The pee though would not come. She tried again to release the muscles down below, but nothing would come out.
She was getting ready to give up when the door opened and in came a crying girl. The sobbing echoed lightly off the walls as the girl rounded the privacy corner. Amber leaned forward to catch a glimpse of the redhead coed as she made her way to the handicap stall. Amber waited until she heard the click of the latch before leaving her own stall, wash her hands and return to the cafeteria.
Amber could only think of the peculiarity of the whole set of events. Was the girl the same one being yelled at in the office? What was the popping sound? Why was she crying? Maybe she’d failed a class or something and was being placed on probation or something. Amber did not know it at the time, but the redhead had failed a class and was placed on probation plus something else.