Turning Tables – Mary Lemza ’27

Retreat tables shift, unite, and separate. They screech the floor, and support the elbows of strangers brought about by a chain of thought-through or rather coincidental decisions and choises. The round of introductions repeats for the fifth time for yet another group of people who just joined and brought with them yet another table and yet another three chairs. Our circle grows and everyone is greeted with smiles and curiosity. Everyone is welcome. 

Congratulations with the first month on Vassar campus!

This month, likely, has not been the easiest for most freshmen. Even more so, for international students. From one orientation to another, the exponentially increasing number of faces and names floating by could not have been more overwhelming. Some stuck, some vanished from our memories, but regardless of that, we always had the comfort of knowing that one of thosefo those 70-something international students will greet us with a smile and understand the confusing and disorienting experience of culture shock. 

As we meet new friends, accept cultural differences for what they are, and learn to adjust to the new environment, our tables separate and draw new people. The tables will keep shifting, uniting, and drifting apart, but we know that no matter how tables turn, we can always count on each other. 

I have truly enjoyed getting to know each of the international students. Each with your own story, you fascinate me with your courage and optimism. I have loved seeing you outside of the international student events, and somehow it makes me happy to see familiar faces in various events and places on campus. 

Now, as our second month here is about to begin, I encourage you to reflect on the one that passed with me and add your own questions.

What has been your favorite memory since arriving on campus? 

Who are the people on campus you are most grateful for? 

What about this place makes you happy? 

For one of my favorite memories, I loved our bonfire. Watching different groups of people form, some fighting with marshmallow sticks, some taking x0.5s, some running after (or away) from the fireflies, – it made me appreciate the community we managed to forge in just a few days and continue to support. 

Our tables will continue to drift and collide, but somewhere out there, we will always have each other, and I will look forward to the big reunion to hear of all of your adventures.

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