I joined with other first year students who had gathered around a preppy-dressed young man holding up a megaphone.
“Welcome Freshman to Rockmount University, Your college adventure is about to begin,” he said. Pointing to his left, he added “A-H here. I-P next to them, and Q-Z on their right.”
Rockmount University, nestled among the tall pines at the base of the Rocky Mountains, was well-known for its academia programs, drawing students from all over the country, and this year from several foreign countries. I looked forward to pursuing my course of study in Sociology while enjoying the scenery and taking advantage of hiking in the nearby area.
Waiting my turn in line, I chatted with other freshmen, each of us anxious to get to our dorms, meet our roommates, and get moved in.
“Next,” a deep voice commanded, and I immediately stepped forward.
“Name?” he asked without looking up, pen poised ready to check it off his list.
“Shef-Sheffield,” I answered. “Amanda Sheffield.”
“Oh, yes, A. Sheffield,” he said, crossing through my name on his sheet. “You’re in the Jenkins Dorm. It’s the third building on your right. Here’s your paperwork.”
“Okay. Thanks.” I accepted the paperwork he handed me and smiled, but when he winked at me, I know I blushed.
Quickly gathering my composure, I took the papers, left the registration building, and followed the walkway. As I passed the second dorm, I noticed a huge old tree. The sign above the bench nestled at the base read “The Wishing Tree”. That’s interesting. I may be spending a lot of time there if the classes are tough.
I spent the rest of the morning ‘moving in’ once I found my dorm room and met my roommate, Maggie. She was also a Sociology major and we had several classes together.
“Are you going to attend the campus tour at one o’clock?” I asked her while hanging up my clothes.
“Naw, I’ve already had my tour with some friends,” she answered. “But go ahead, it’s worth the time.”
“I noticed something interesting by the dorm next to us—The Wishing Tree. Know anything about it?”
Maggie smiled. “Oh, you can ask some of the upper classmen about that. I’ve heard stories, but I’m not sure they’re true.”
I nodded. I’ll remember to ask my tour guide about that this afternoon.
Ten minutes before one o’clock my watch alarm went off reminding me that I should leave for the campus tour. Grabbing my ID and dorm keys, I headed to the registration building. A large crowd had already gathered.
“Okay, freshmen, listen up!” the masculine voiced announced through the megaphone. “Since we have so many we’ll break up into groups of five or six. Line up in front of these fellas dressed in blue.”
I didn’t recognize anyone, so I chose a line. I figured one line was as good as another. To my surprise the leader of my line was the same preppy young man who gave me my paperwork earlier. I was sure I blushed when he had us introduce ourselves.
Jonathan led the six of us on an extensive tour, giving elaborate details mixed with a bit of humor and legend. He was a junior, on the debate team, the basketball team, and a psychology major.
Returning to the registration building, we passed ‘The Wishing Tree’. Here’s my chance to find out about this tree.
“Jonathan,” I called, getting his attention. “What is ‘The Wishing Tree’?”
He laughed. “You’ll find out soon enough, but when you need a wish to come true, you come here first. Just ask any other junior or senior. But keep in mind it doesn’t work for freshmen.”
That wasn’t something I wanted to hear. I might just need a wishing tree for some of my classes.What does he mean it doesn’t work for freshmen? I made a note to find out.
The first few weeks of classes went pretty smoothly. My schedule was full but I managed to keep up with all my work, make new friends, and had even gotten on the college newspaper as a reporter. After several months I had gained enough experience and joined the yearbook staff, and my first assignment was to interview several juniors and find out about their experience at Rockmount and their perspective for the future.
When I logged into the yearbook website the next week, it surprised me to find that my assignment was to interview Jonathan Rexal, the cute junior who winked at me on orientation day and led the campus tour for my line. Could life get much better?
I contacted Jonathan and arranged to meet him at the student Rock Café on campus. Before I began my list of questions, he wanted to know why I came to Rockmount. I wasn’t interviewing him, he was interviewing me.
“Okay, Jonathan,” I began, taking another sip of coke. “I want to know why freshmen can’t benefit from ‘The Wishing Tree’. I want answers.”
He leaned back and laughed. “I see you don’t give up, do you.”
“Okay,” he began. “Legend has it that when the University first opened, there were many students who struggled with their classes, and they seem to congregate around the old tree in front of Bremen Dorm. They all voiced their woes and wishes, and were amazed when finals grades were posted, they had all passed with flying colors. They believed it was because they ‘wished’ it at the tree, and the legend has continued to this day.”
“But does it only work for classes and grades?” I asked, hoping to learn more.
“That’s the main emphasis as I understand it. But I’ve also known a few other juniors and seniors who wished for a new car, a new roommate, and for even finding a spouse.”
“And their wishes were granted?”
‘Well, as far as I know they were.”
“Well, thank you, Jonathan. I hope you’ll like the article I write.”
“Oh, I’m sure I will,” he responded, winking again. “We’ll have to do this again, Amanda.”
“That would be great, Jonathan,” I said, hoping he couldn’t hear the pounding and racing of my heart. “I’m sure I’ll have other questions for you.”
He stood up and leaned over. “Hey, why don’t we go hiking tomorrow afternoon. You’ll love the mountains streams along the trail I’m thinking about. You can’t stay in your dorm when you’re surrounded by all this beauty.”
“That sounds great, Jonathan. I’d love to see the area. I need to get back into my hiking routine.”
“Good,” he said. “I’ll pick you up at 10 a.m.”
We went back to our respective dorms, but I couldn’t concentrate on the article. After all, I had a date with Jonathan Rexal, cute preppy boy. Can life get much better than this?
“So, did you ever go to the wishing tree?” questioned my oldest daughter. I smiled at her and her two younger brothers, all three pair of eyes shining in eager anticipation.
“No, I never did,” I told them. “But I didn’t have to.”