BY BEN KANE | Ball State Sports Link
You sit in your ECON 201 class on the first day of the new year. The room is stuffy from 40 people being cramped into one classroom and the AC sputtering along trying to make up for the extra bodies.
The teacher is difficult to understand and you begin to panic and scramble to write down every word. Then, as if on cue, the power flicks off.
You walk outside hoping to find answers, only to find thousands of people looking to the skies searching for a natural phenomenon. How about that for your first day of college?
Welcome to Ball State.
The shift from high school to college can be difficult.
In high school, people knew each other. You see them every day in class or at lunchtime, maybe at sporting events cheering on your team on the court or on the field.
Jump ahead to freshman year of college.
Moving into a 16-by-12 room with minimal closet space with a random roommate you met two weeks prior. It’s tough. But from some friends older than I, they say it gets better. That’s hard to believe after the first day I had.
The moment the high school graduation commencement ended, I was ready to move in and even more eager to get started and involved.
As move-in day approached, the feeling became more and more real: This is actually happening. I am going to be a college student.
Move-in day finally came. TV, futon, clothes, the whole nine. All packed away in the SUV and ready for the next chapter in life. The trip to Muncie was nothing but twitchy hands and an ever-wandering mind. Everyone else there had the same ambitions and excitement as myself.
Classic freshman, right? In less than two hours, everything is unpacked, but my roommate and I don’t have a clue of where to go or what to do. My parents both gave me big hugs, then watched their last child embark on the adventure of college. Now it was me, on my own.
The weekend quickly went by with the different activities around campus. Then the dreadful Sunday night feeling. The same as it was in high school: Classes start tomorrow, then homework will pile up. No, no, NO. This isn’t what I signed up for!
But the feeling quickly vanished the next morning when I didn’t have to wake up until 10:00 AM. Talk about your lucky breaks. My first day of classes consisted of an 11:00 AM, a 1:00 PM and a 6:00 PM night class, other than that, clear as day.
Events began to go downhill when sitting in my 1:00 PM ECON class. Already nervous for it being my first day, I could hardly understand my professor. He had a slight accent that I knew was going to take some time getting adjusted to. I decided I just needed to relax a tad before I stress over a class on the first day.
Breathe in… breathe out…
Breathe in… breathe out…
Then, the lights go out. We soon find out the power to the entire building has gone out. Rumors spread and almost the whole Ball State campus is without power.
People start to think the pending solar eclipse is what caused the first-day conundrum. Those rumors quickly die out, but no one knows exactly what caused to school-wide power outage. It still remains a mystery.
The professor releases everyone in class, even though there is still a half hour left. As I shuffle outside, I am met with thousands of people, looking up into the heavens as if to find answers to the loss of power.
I snap back to reality and realize the eclipse is almost at full-viewing pleasure for Muncie. But if you didn’t know that, you would legitimately think the world was going to end.
Power going out, walking outside to find the entire Ball State community starring into the sun with special glasses as if it were the answers to all their problems.
My stomach beings to growl from emptiness so I look around for somewhere to eat. I meet up with my roommate and we scout the surrounding areas on campus for something to eat. But we meet an impasse. Campus food court, closed. Various dorm food courts, closed. Don’t tell me this has the slightest feel of a world-ending, 2012-esque movie.
No food, no power, people running around like chickens with their head cut off looking at the solar eclipse?
Within a few hours, campus repair crews have the power back up, the eclipse had passed, things are dying down. I still have my evening class to go, but my naive brain thought, what else could go wrong?
My final class of the day was for Ball State Sports Link.
One of the most recognized collegiate digital sports programs in the nation, and I was about to walk into my first meeting as an official member.
The senior director of Sports Link, Chris Taylor, begins by welcoming everybody to the start of a new year. After a few guest speakers, he dives right into things.
“Alright guys, glad to have you all here. Let’s start with ESPN3 broadcasts.”
Hold on, take a step back. Did he just say ESPN3 broadcasts? As in THE ESPN? The same ESPN I watch every morning?
I had known before Sports Link produces live events on ESPN3. I have even shadowed a baseball doubleheader and seen the whole operation. But it wasn’t until this very moment that it started to feel real.
I could be a part of an ESPN broadcast.
Talk about a wild first day, right?
I went to bed that night knowing that whatever lies ahead this year is going to be insane.
Whether it is as hectic as my first day of college? Well, I’ll get back to you on that.