Time seemed to slow as the twelve-passenger van rolled along University Blvd. Matt raised his weary head from his pillow resting against the window, his eyes came alive, and his jaw dropped.
After five long days on the road from Utqiagvik, Alaska, on the 24th day of August in the year of our Lord 2031, he at last saw the gleaming rays of the morning sun shining upon that glorious Franciscan University sign. He was home.
As the van reached the top of the hill, Matt and his family were redirected back down to St. Wulfstan Hall, the newest men’s dorm and a converted hotel. It was a mere five miles from the Rosary Circle, and the shuttles were operational at times, so the distance was nothing to worry about.
Matt settled into his dorm, met his seven roommates, and chose which drawer he would be sleeping in. He was thrilled when he got the top drawer, as that was always his favorite back home.
He said his farewells to his nine brothers and sisters, his mom, and his dad, as there were no hotels left in a fifty-mile radius for them to stay in during orientation, seeing as they were all converted to dormitories.
Orientation flew by for the largest class in Franciscan’s history, just as it had for last year’s largest ever class, and the largest ever class that came the year before that, and so on.
Before Matt knew it, it was the first day of classes. He woke up at the ripe ol’ hour of 4:30 a.m., packed his bags with everything he would need for the day, and began the hike to upper campus. He would have taken the shuttle, but it wouldn’t reach Wulfstan Hall until 7:45 a.m., his first class was at 8:00 a.m., and he hoped to get breakfast beforehand.
The morning went well for Matt. He got out of class at 10:50 a.m. and headed to the caf. By the time he arrived, the line reached down the sidewalk, through the Rosary Circle, past Christ the King, up to the JPII library, up the stairs of Starvaggi, around the building towards Christ the Teacher, up to the St. Joseph Center, and over past the first few Heights.
Matt got into Antonian by 3:30 p.m. and was thrilled at the expediency. He ate his food then went to the Fieldhouse for the 4:45 p.m. Mass. Despite arriving at 4:10 p.m., the Fieldhouse was already filled with students. Matt found a nice spot to stand and enjoyed the next hour of repose from the busy day.
After Mass, Matt decided to find a nice spot to do some homework until his night class. He searched the whole library and found not a seat to be had. He scoured the JC and only found loud music and chairs filled by boisterous conversation. He perused CODA, Egan, and Christ the Teacher. There he found classes in session and students in concentration, but no open cushions.
He at last found a nice spot in the grass, and he remained there doing homework until his last class at 9:00 p.m.: Foundations of Catholicism. He had heard from a senior that classes never used to start at that time, but due to the number of sections needed for the latest freshman class—the largest in the school’s history—they had to extend class hours later into the night.
Matt finished up at 11:00 p.m. and waited for the shuttle to take him back to his dorm. It was supposed to arrive in the Rosary Circle at 11:25 p.m., so when the clock struck 11:45 p.m. and there was still no shuttle, he decided to begin the hike back down to St. Wulfstan. He got in just before 2:00 a.m., climbed into his drawer, and went to sleep, thinking, “What a great day to be a baron!”
The next morning, Matt woke up at the ripe ol’ hour of 4:30 a.m., packed his bags with everything he would need for the day, and began the hike to upper campus.