Lydia Lee was joined by 2,000 of her closest friends at Deering Meadow on Tuesday morning.

Okay, so Lydia does not really know all 2,000 incoming first-year and transfer students at Northwestern University, but she was there among them for “Wildcat Welcome,” a portion of Orientation.

“It’s OK so far,” said the McCormick Engineering freshman from Minneapolis.

“I’m still kind of nervous.”

“Wildcat Welcome” included “Lunch on the Lake” outdoors at Norris University Center, the traditional walk through the campus Arch, and other “you’re in college now” activities.

This particular day was also “a chance for students and parents to say goodbye,” said Kristie Trilliing, program assistant at NU’s Office of Student Transition Experiences (only an academic institution could come up with a job title like that).

“It’s a big deal,” Trilling said.

“Parents and students have worked together their whole lives” to reach this moment, when mom and dad drop their child off.

“It’s very emotional for the families,” she added.

Lydia’s dad, Larry Lee, said this day “brought back a lot of memories” from his freshman orientation at Stanford.

“I remember the wonderful feeling 35 years ago,” he added.

Cynthia Lee, Lydia’s mom, said “I hope we’ve prepared her to appreciate the wonderful years she’ll have at Northwestern.”

The Lee Family at NU.

“We’ve been so impressed” with NU, Cynthia Lee said.

Classes start next Tuesday.

And now, think of this.

In four short years, the Class of 2027 will have graduated, and it will be Lydia who will be looking back on her good old college days.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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