During the first week of the Fall semester, my alma mater hosts something called “Welcome Week”. Basically, Welcome Week is a week of different campus events each night. The events range from inflatables and pool parties to casino nights and concerts.
Some years, welcome week is better than others. This year, FMU hosted a pool party and gave out Dippin’ Dots. After I heard this, the little inner part of me that misses college thought “Hey, we never had Dippin’ Dots when I was a student!” There were a lot of things that we didn’t have when I started college at FMU- no nursing building, no “Grille” restaurant, no Forest Villa apartments, no wireless internet- but Dippin Dots *did* exist 7 years ago. I promise!
I moved in freshmen for three hours on Saturday, and I’ll be the first to admit- a lot has changed since I moved into the dorms. For that matter, a lot has changed since I graduated three years ago.
When I moved in students and saw the “Welcome Week” flyer in every dorm room, I noticed one that that hadn’t changed, and I’m glad it hasn’t. I don’t know when it started, and a sentimental part of me hopes it never ends.
Every year, during the first week of classes, there is a hypnotist show by Dr. Jim Wand.
Okay, so Dr. Jim Wand is probably about as much of a doctor as Dr. Phil, but the hypnotist show IS usually the highest attended student event, and there’s a reason why. There’s a mystery with hypnosis, and that draws people in. Plus, who doesn’t want to see their classmates and roommates go on stage, get hypnotized, and do crazy things? Students sing really bad karaoke, pretend they are celebrities, and do PG-13 activities with balloon animals.
Folks, that’s campus entertainment at it’s finest!
Five years ago during Welcome Week, I went to the hypnotist show with someone very special to me. At the time, I was looking forward to being an English major, living in a new apartment with my close friends Tiffany G, Tiffany W., and Stacey, and getting to know this awesome guy.
His name was Clay, and I met him the semester before, when he was a student in a math class where I worked as a tutor. Sometimes he waited on my late-night tutoring shift to end and walked me back to my campus apartment, since my shift and his class ended after dark. A few weeks before, on a rainy night in July, he fixed my computer and we ate at Cici’s Pizza, which resulted in very awkward hug between us and a “Where have you been?” from my parents when I returned home.
I didn’t expect much when I agreed to the date at the hypnotist show; after all, going on a date to a popular campus event is a safe bet when you’re just getting to know someone. I’m pretty sure the special someone I went with would tell me that I got what I expected. But I got so much more- and I get so much more every day I spend with him.
Our relationship officially started with a kiss after that hypnotist show, and in a few months, we will officially be “Patriot Sweethearts”, the term for alumni who meet at FMU and marry.
I don’t know if it was Dr. Wand, and I don’t know if I believe in hypnosis, but there was definitely some magic that night at Francis Marion University, and five years later, that magic lives on.