(for the record: no, I do not go to medical school but i think the medical school building is one of the prettiest!)
One week ago, I became a resident of my university. Six days ago, my parents flew home and I had to do everything in my power to not cry as I had to meet up with my orientation group afterwards. Three days ago, I became a college student. And here I am --- feeling like I've been here for over a month, feeling like I'm at home.
Orientation week was jam packed with activities, from song/dance rehearsals (part of our school tradition --- it sounds lame, but trust me, it was INCREDIBLE --- I've never had so much school spirit), orientation group meetings, class registration, trying to unpack...as overwhelming as everything was, it was exciting and new.
Living in a dorm:
It's not as bad as it seems, but I can't speak for everyone at all colleges, because I'm fortunate enough to go to a school that renovates its dorm buildings every five years or so. Our room is across from the elevator and near the medical center, but there's a plus --- it's SPACIOUS. Of course it'd be nice to not have to hear ambulances/emergency vehicles and the elevator at odd hours in the night, but I really can't complain. Our dorm building is the largest of the school, and while we may not be as close knit and crowded as the other dorms, I appreciate the space and tranquility. Besides, our hall has gotten much closer this past week, from our night-before-registration panic party to our random-q&a's-in-our-pajama sessions. (The bathrooms are perfectly clean, by the way, and there's plenty of space for clothes, just not enough "organization" in the dresser for this neat freak) College is like a giant sleepover, and I love going to the brightly-lit lounge outside my room to study --- it's quiet enough and it's nice to see friends/hallmates pass by occasionally.
Before I moved in (my roommate had already unpacked):
this desk is now filled with many textbooks (nearly $770 worth!!! Fortunately, I'll be able to get some of the money back when I sell these books in the future, but let's be clear: never underestimate the cost of a book)
Our school changed its food provider to the most popular college provider, Bon Appetit, and I'm finding it to be pretty good. Granted, I'd like it even more if the dining hall wasn't so crowded during the day (breakfast time for this early bird is so nice and peaceful), if their granola was better, and if they had avocados and peanut butter (Mom, you're probably incredibly proud of me --- no real peanut butter for practically a week now), but there's variety and amazing gluten-free bagels :)
for the record: this flavor (Honey Smoked BBQ) is my new favorite out of all the KIND bar flavors I've tried
Yes, I've gone to the gym twice now, to run, but honestly, there's really no need. This campus is full of hills, and I have to walk across the campus in ten minutes some days -- UPHILL --, so just going to places is a workout in itself! I love how I'm "forced" to be outdoors now; the weather lately has been incredibly pleasant: breezy, not too hot, not very humid, sunny (of course I enjoyed the rain last Sunday too).
Word of advice for anyone out there who's about to go to college: learn to make small talk.
Everyone's trying to find friends, so it's not difficult to find very friendly people, but what I am very grateful for is the fact that people are accepting. While there will always be those who are more exclusive, I've been fortunate enough to come across a lot of people who are easy to get along with, friendly, welcoming, and open to forming friendships. Finding a table to sit at during lunch is a little nerve-wracking, but aside from that, it's really not too difficult to strike a conversation up with someone :) I'm also very very very surprised and grateful for the kind upperclassmen here, who are endless sources of advice and guidance. Our SA's and RA's, in particular, have become my big sisters/brothers, and they've been so influential and inspiring just over this past week that I'm seriously considering becoming an SA next year, if possible. The employees here, from the lady who cleans our bathrooms to the servers in the dining hall, have been so friendly and kind, and there's nothing better than being uplifted by another person's friendliness/kindness.
(chemistry building that's brand spanking new --- this was one of the main incentives for me to take chemistry)
I've only had three days of classes so far, but I'm excited, just like I was during the beginning of senior year. However, unlike senior year, I feel more prepared and invigorated --- these classes aren't like the cookie-cutter type classes of high school, where curriculums were driven by standardized tests. It's been difficult and disorienting, as a lot of classes here are technology-oriented, but everything will settle soon, and hopefully I'll learn to effectively manage time --- I thought I had everything set and organized when I was in high school, but that was high school. Managing time in college is a completely different concept, and it'll take some time to find balance, but I'm really excited to learn. My professors have been so accessible and kind --- every single one of them, which definitely wasn't the case with all of my high school teachers.
There are events every single night --- not just one, SEVERAL. There's always something to do, and I didn't realize how exciting life can be in college, but there's always that little voice in the back of my head reminding me to do work ;) I'm not a party person, and I honestly don't look forward to going to a college party anytime soon, but I am looking forward to all of the performances, cultural events, hall bonding trips to come.
I can't even begin to describe how devastated I was, when I had to leave my brother at home. The day and morning before moving in was filled with anxiety, nervousness, curiosity, fear, and a bit of excitement. I kept dreading the homesickness that would come, but looking back on this past week, I've only truly felt homesick for about 2-3 days, and that feeling didn't last long each time. I was talking to a friend, and she and I agreed that homesickness is a transient feeling; you really don't feel it most of the time, but all of a sudden, the feelings might rush in and you'll feel homesick all at once. But since that third day or so, I haven't really felt "homesick", probably because I can't stop smiling every time I look at something in this school -- whether it be a chair in the lounge, the beautiful trees around me, a building....the excitement and pure joy that comes with being here surpasses everything. Don't worry Mom, I miss you guys --- but it's not like when I went to Disney this past spring. I had an amazing time at Disney with my friends, but mostly due to a few complications that arose, I kept missing my family and wishing that they could experience everything with me. While I constantly send my brother videos and photos of everything --- from my food to the library's magical "Harry Potter-esque" moving shelves --- and wish that my family could see the amazing things I see, I don't have the urge to call home everyday because I'm sad. I've called home a couple times, not only to say hello, but to tell them all about the exciting day that I had. With that being said, let's talk about the length of the days here:
Granted, this past week was full of orientation related activities, so we were extremely busy (I'm talking about only having one hour to completely unpack on the day we got here and only having the time to organize in between activities). However, while I always thought that I'd continue sleeping at 10 pm like I used to, that bedtime has become much more fluid. There's just so many things to do in one day that there really isn't enough time, and I find myself sleeping around 11:30 more often (this might also be due to the fact that it's really really really nice to just sit around, talking to hallmates in the lounge before bed). It's not a bad thing though -- I don't feel as tired as I used to, if I slept late. I think being so exhausted from the day's activities makes me sleep relatively "well", while waking up makes me so excited to see what the day offers. So it's true, college kids sleep "later" (then again, it really depends on your definition of "late").