I was just 7 years old when I first stepped onto the UW-Eau Claire campus, an age much younger than most Blugolds. My mom helped me pack my bags while I anxiously waited for the weekend to start. It was the spring of 2001 and it was Lil’ Sibs Weekend at UW-Eau Claire.
I remember walking into my sister, Shawna's, dorm room with my parents and my other sister, Jenna. Shawna’s roommate was on the futon, full of smiles, and their wooden beds were bunked against the wall. I could not believe this is where she lived. To me, it was like the greatest slumber party imaginable.
Shawna and I went to the planetarium show; we tie dyed T-shirts and spent the night bowling and playing pool at the BBC Hilltop Center with her friends. I felt so special to be included, and already started imagining what life at college would be like for me one day. The hill, of course, was especially memorable, as well as the back staircase. I remember giggling with her and her friends as we ran up and down the stairs. Oofta! I can’t imagine running those stairs today.
The following week when I returned to school, I told all my friends about how awesome college was. That was when my best friend and I began planning what our own dorm room would look like and what we would want to study someday. The possibilities, even at that age, were thrilling.
That weekend greatly impacted me, both as a younger sister and as a future Blugold. And even though Shawna and I are 11 years apart, we will always have those “college memories” together.
I’m the youngest of three daughters, and although I don’t have any “lil’ sibs” to show around campus, I do have three nephews. As a current Blugold and an aunt, it makes me happy to be able to show and tell them about the wonderful experiences and opportunities that are out there.
As Family Weekend (formerly Lil' Sibs Weekend) approaches, think about the impression you can make on future Blugolds, whether it’s a younger sibling or a visiting niece or nephew. I know that even at 7, visiting my sister for that one weekend made an impression on my image of what college was and my decision to attend UW-Eau Claire 11 years later.
This year's activities include a Friday night picnic buffet, a trip to Ferguson's Orchard, a family movie night and much more. How will you pass on the Blugold legacy?
Photo caption: Hanna Johnson at age 7, center, with her two older sisters