“C U Will Shine Tonight, C U Will Shine!”
Those were the chants that my newfound friends and I bellowed out during the first CUA football game of the year.
I went to an all-boys Catholic high school in New York City. Since space was limited and there was no football field nearby, my high school didn’t have a football team. I went four years without going to a single high school football game. I knew that had to change once I arrived at CUA.
The only problem was that I knew I wasn’t the most outgoing person around. That high school I had mentioned was also a very small school, consisting of about 500 students throughout the four grades. There, it was easy to find people that I liked. CUA, however, boasts about 3,700 undergraduates. That being said, I was probably one of the more nervous freshman to step foot on to campus during the first months of freshman year.
“Tailgate this Friday!” was all I could hear walking through the Pryz the whole week leading up to the first game. The hype got me more than excited and the experience was feeling more real. My new friends and I bought tons of face paint, made sure we had CUA gear to wear, reserved a parking spot, and invited everyone we knew.
Finally, it was game day. I remember the day very vividly. I remember going to LC’s and asking everyone if they were going to the game that night. Everyone nodded in excitement. Hour after hour, the hype grew until I finish my last class at 4:30pm. I got back to my dorm and everyone was already dressed and putting on the face paint. Once we walked under the Taylor St. bridge, we heard the music. The bass was thumping within our chests. Finally, my first (non-NFL) tailgate and football game!
We eventually found my friend’s truck… and the grilling began! The music was blasting, the corn hole was tossing, and the friends were chilling. This was the perfect way to end another week of my first semester of college. People were coming and going, just enjoying anyone and everyone’s company.
Coming to the tailgate, I knew about 6 people. As the night went on, our spot eventually hosted 30+ people. Not known at the time, lasting friendships were being formed and cherished memories were made. This single tailgate laid the groundwork for the relationships amongst all of my best friends here at CUA.
Despite my aloof and shy personality, I was able to round up friends and enjoy my first (and favorite) tailgate. This was by far my favorite memory of freshman year, because it was the first genuine memory I had of realizing I had finally made some real friends.
– Andrew Santiano