1 Week Anniversary
Today marks the 1 Week Anniversary of the beginning of my college career. 1 week ago at this time, I was sitting in the Daniels Theater watching the RAs present skits about potential issues I may encounter here at college, desperately wishing that afterwards, I could go home to my family, not to a barren dorm room. Since that night, I have met loads of people, participated in too many ice-breaking activities, and memorized the locations of several key buildings on campus, yet I still think about home. I suppose that it has only been a week, and I am sure that all college students, regardless of their year, think about home once in a while, but I am frustrated that my transition into college life has not been smooth.
Waking up the morning after hugging my family goodbye in the crowded cafeteria was terrible: I opened my eyes, registered my location, and felt a knot in my stomach form and tighten. I had never felt anything like it before–the emptiness created by my family leaving caused legitimate physical discomfort. However, over the course of the day, I became preoccupied with remembering the names of all the people I met, untangling complicated “human knots,” and “moving my butt” during team building activities. That night, I collapsed into bed, and fell asleep with ease.
I have come to the conclusion that things get worse before they get better. Mornings are still difficult, but afternoons and evenings have become manageable. My room is no longer empty as I have unpacked my books, postcards, posters, photos, and art supplies, and organized them properly. My drawers are no longer haphazardly stuffed with miscellaneous items, and my clothes and books are sorted by color. Things are starting to feel a bit more familiar, which will make starting the day much easier.
On a more positive note, I have made several small, personal triumphs since arriving at Clark, and while they might seem like regular things to most everybody else, they hold special significance to me, a first-year most appropriately described as a “Scaredy Squirrel” when it comes to stuff like this:
1) Classes: During any free moments I had the last two days before classes started, I walked around campus making sure I knew what buildings they would be in. I timed the walk from one building to another to confirm that the 10 minute transition time I had on one day was of suitable length. The Monday that classes began, I went inside the buildings and located the rooms I would have to go to. This somewhat obsessive behavior paid off, and by 20 minutes before my first class, I could confidently describe their locations. I can only imagine what I looked like to everybody else, standing in the middle of the sidewalk with a crumpled campus map trying to find some direction.
2) Laundry: I have read that laundry is the bane of many college student’s existences. Yesterday, I set off to battle the washing machines, and came back triumphant. My roommate and I went together to alleviate our anxiety of the machines bubbling over, and ended up having a decent time. I am actually looking forward to the next time I get to feed the washer my dirty clothes, but I may not have this sentiment a few months from now.
3) Cafeteria: Many of my meals have been solitary, but occasionally I will gather up enough courage to sit with people I don’t know at the bar-style tables. So far, my experiences with that have worked out positively 75% of the time. I can’t fathom how most people can comfortably do this at every meal, and I am hoping that after a few more weeks of class, I will recognize a somewhat regular lunch crowd that I can join, or will have a group of friends to call my own. For now, I have been carrying a book to meals so if I do end up by myself, I can find some solace in the written word.
My first week of college can be equated to that cliche roller-coaster we all know so well–there have been low moments, but there have also been positive moments, and I have decided to store them for when I next feel down. It is the good that keeps me going through the Freshman Blues, and it has been the kindness of the others I have met here at Clark that helps me stay (somewhat) positive for the weeks and months to come.