A Week Away At College

August 26, 2015

My Personal Experience


It’s actually hard to believe I’ve only been at college for a week, which makes it only harder to understand that I’m going to be away at college for such a long time. I moved into my dorm at Midwestern State University this past Tuesday and so much has happened in such a short amount of time being here. I’m so glad to say I have the best new roommate I could ask for! Keely and I have been friends since first grade – much simpler days. (Back then we would spend our time on the playground playing house or surviving the hot lava beneath the equipment.) I can’t say this week has been totally worry free and easy breezy, in fact it’s actually been anything but that, but it’s made the week here fun not knowing possibly what could happen next.

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Move in day is just as chaotic and just as emotional as they say it will be. Yes the pictures below are all my stuff and luckily I wasn’t the one hauling it all up to my 6th floor dorm. (I tend to overpack.) I’m very pleased with my dorm, even if I hate small spaces, and sharing a bathroom with girls in my hall isn’t as bad as I pictured it to be – so far so good. I will say I was very eager for my parents to leave after a few hours of unpacking and eating and hanging out, I was just ready to get college started. (I regret that feeling later on.) Of course it was still sad to say goodbye to my parents knowing that this was it, I am moving out and moving on with my life. I am now on my own – thats an incredibly terrifying thought. I knew my parents would be a wreck saying goodbye to their first child, their only daughter, but it was especially hard to see them tear up and try not to cry with them. It didn’t help that my brother gave me a big hug, (if you know my brother you know he doesn’t have an ounce of emotion in his body) it meant a lot to see him sad I was leaving and actually express it.

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Before I knew it, something I’ve only dreamed about for years was suddenly my reality. Keely and I were all on our own at our university. The first thing we decided to do was go grocery shopping for our dorm, we just happened to pick the worst time to do so. Two packs of waters down, and a cabinet with drawers we put our food groceries in, we were two sweaty messes carrying heavy things from a parking lot a little less than a mile away from our dorm, then up to the 6th floor. I’ll just say nobody wanted to help us, and actually would look at us and then avoid anymore eye contact. Our next grocery shopping endeavor wasn’t any more successful. Making two trips is on another level of not happening, so Keely and I loaded our arms with sacks and proceeded to our dorm. Keely actually ripped one of our grocery bags open in the elevator and we were stuck trying to grapple what had fallen to stuff where we could. No one helped us again. (Grocery shopping is something I will avoid as long as I can again.) [sidenote: we have the slowest elevator known to mankind in our dormitory, walking up and down 12 flights of stairs is actually easier and much faster, but not preferred.] After a week I’ve already grown tired of eating the things we bought. I hate what I’m eating but I don’t want to spend money on food, because thats one thing I hate to blow money on. They’re right when they say theres broke, and then theres college student broke. You should see the crap we eat, I swear most of our meals I wouldn’t have thought about trying before I got here. I know we have a cafeteria here, but it’s not any better. One thing I don’t understand, HOW DO YOU EVEN GET THE FRESHMAN 15 ALL I’VE DONE IS WALK EVERYWHERE ALL DAY and I don’t even eat real meals.

A few days later we started to get concerned that we hadn’t met anyone on our side of the dorm hall, didn’t even know if there was life inside their rooms. In fact we had hardly met anyone we could consider friends. We had held several dozen conversations with girls in the elevator, but though the elevator is slow, we didn’t have long enough to make a connection with anyone. (At least no one seemed interested to make a connection.) By the third night at college, I was homesick. I actually stayed up till 2 in the morning and just cried my eyes out. College was not what I pictured. We had no friends, hadn’t gone to do anything fun, and it just didn’t seem like the fun experience I was hoping for was even in reach. I missed my family. I cried because my pillows were messed up and my mom wasn’t there to fix them before telling me goodnight. I cried for my dad, because it was the first night I wouldn’t have him come down the hall to my room just to tell me “goodnight sweetheart, I love you.” I even cried for my brother, because even though he bugs the crap out of me, I missed that he wouldn’t be coming into my room just to annoy me anymore and I wouldn’t be hearing about his day at football practice or any of the funny stories he tells. I missed everything about being home and the familiarity of it; of knowing what to expect. Here I was all alone in a bed that wasn’t mine, in a town I wasn’t raised in; and it was suddenly too much for me.

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I went back to Graham the next day. It was so wonderful being welcomed back like I had been gone so long, going out to eat because of my return with the whole family, and being asked about how I’ve been. I held back my tears and talked to my family like I hadn’t been missing them terribly. Although, after all the charades were finished and it was growing near to bedtime, I was wishing I was back in my dorm; specifically in my bed. I came to realize I wasn’t even referring to my bed in my home as my bed, I longed to be back at college. How could I miss being somewhere thats only been my temporary home for a few days? I stayed the night in Graham because my parents wanted me to, but I left the next morning and was so happy to be back where I felt I belonged, and it wasn’t home. I realized that though I missed my family, they’re always gonna be there for me and welcome me home. I realized I’m exactly where I want to be, I’m enjoying being independent, and I haven’t been homesick since my return.

Things started to turn around after I came back. I met two girls in one of my many elevator rides and they seemed really nice. As it turned out, they actually lived across from us in our hall! The elevator ride did end though, and we all went our own ways. The next morning I woke up to very loud obnoxious banging on the wall behind my head as I lay in bed. I came to the conclusion someone was using a hammer to nails things into the walls. (Keep in mind this is college and command hooks are the only things allowed.) The banging continued for hours, stopping periodically but picking up always. I eventually decided to bang back on the wall, and it seemed to quiet my neighbors down. Later I woke up to doors slamming and loud music blaring from their room again. Keely and I decided to go to the friends dorm I had previously met in the elevator to see if they were being annoyed by the noises, and they were. We collectively decided to write them a note and stick it to their door. It simply read, “Your hall would appreciate it if y’all could not bang on walls, slam doors, or blare music before noon. Thanks, :)” Later on in the day, not thinking anymore about it, we stumbled on a note stuck to our door that read “The rule is, quiet time is from 10pm-10am. Thanks”. Keely and I were furious. How rude of them to react so mean when we simply asked them to quiet down; after all, we were pretty sure they were making noise before 10am. That all changed after we actually saw one of our neighbors for the first time. Lets just say we apologized with our Room Advisor as a witness in case the girl decided to punch us – or slit our throat. Although we were in a sticky situation, we bonded with the girls across the hall, Claire and Natally, over it all and now have some cool new friends to have late night Chick-Fil-A runs, share stories from our hometowns, and go to fun events with. We may even all rush together next week!

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Before we knew it, Sunday had come around; that meant laundry day. I’ll admit, I’ve never done laundry in my entire life. I had to dry some pants before and had to call my mom because there were too many options on our dryer. I will say, I wasn’t the one who had a problem washing my stuff, I washed and dried all of my clothing problem free and am confident in my new laundry skills! Keely however, had a mis-hap with one of the washers. We decided with the room left under her bed, we could convert it into a comfy place to sit and lay and watch movies together; we just needed to wash this comforter to lay down under it. We loaded it in the washer, set the time, and decided to run to Target while it’s washing to grab a few things, we will definitely be back in time for us to get it when its done. Before we leave, while on the slowest elevator of existence, Keely notices her wallet and keys are missing. She starts panicking and searching through her purse frantically to realize she has to have left it either in the dorm or the laundry room. We check the laundry room first and nothing, then have the same outcome in our dorm before we realize she must have accidentally thrown the keys in the washer when she set the comforter in. To our surprise, thats exactly what happened. We see the loose change catching on the sides of the washer, and hear the clunk of her keys as it spins. We realize we can do nothing about it, because the washer locks up when it closes, but wait 30 minutes for the cycle to end. (Keely literally freaks out the entire remaining minutes, I laugh hysterically for the entire remaining minutes and (try to) assure Keely the contents will survive.) A half hour later and we have a washed wallet, and comforter! (She did have to get a new student ID card because hers quit working after the wash.)

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The day I wasn’t yet prepared for finally came – classes started. I picked out a nice t-shirt and some nike shorts (yesssss) to match and put my backpack on. (I totally did my hair and makeup and wore jewelry though.) I’d never been more nervous for the first day of school in my life. The entire elevator ride I was panicking on the inside. I suppose it was because for the last four years I had known what to expect, and I was about to walk into a whole new world. Unlucky for me, I didn’t walk around campus to find my classes prior to this day, so I had to use a map and a whole lotta luck – that map was my best friend. My first class I arrived to a little close to the start time, so seats were limited. I ended up sitting between two girls that didn’t know each other, and it was probably the most uncomfortable decision I’ve ever made. I did however survive all my classes that day and felt accomplished. None of them seem too bad, in fact I would actually say they’re no different from my high school classes; except you actually have to try. I’m just not used to having to study for hours and read chapters from huge textbooks. I love that all my classes are spaced out incredibly. I go at 9:00, 12:00, and 2:00 – plenty of time to eat, watch Netflix, binge study, or nap between. I believe that will come in handy!

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For anyone out there looking for a piece of advice from a now present college student it’s this: things will be nothing like you are used to and you will have to learn to do new things, you will struggle probably struggle to new friends, and you will miss your friends and family you left back home more than you can imagine. I can promise you however, that things won’t be that way for long. You’ll find your new routine, you’ll meet new people every single day, (it’s up to you to be friendly) and though you won’t stop missing your loved ones, it does get easier (especially being busy 24/7.) I’ll let y’all know about some college work advice when I figure it out for myself, but for now – wish me luck!!

As Always,

Ara

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