New Semester (Struggles).
I’m back at school, and what a different world it is this time! All my comforts from last semester are far, far away and I find myself living every moment waiting for disaster. It’s good that I went into this with a positive standpoint, because otherwise I’d be the living Holden Caulfield. (I’m still working on finishing my re-read of Catcher in the Rye; I have to read it in doses otherwise I become pretty grim.) Here, let me describe it all to you:
I walked into my new dorm for the first time through a rear entrance stair-well. I had no idea where the hell the front desk was, and figured it was best to just follow the doors with the keypads in front of them. I made my way to a set of three elevators and discovered that I was in the basement, so I went to the first floor and push past a set of heavy-duty, white double-doors. I walked into a big, open area with white walls and a wall of windows. In front of me I saw a large desk with a white board behind it. There were over a hundred mail boxes/cubbies on one wall, and as I walked further the room opened up to an area full of modern furniture, booths, and a flat-screen TV. I was definitely not in Kansas. See, my old dorm was made in the 60’s. It had low ceilings with dingy carpet in the hallways and an off-white tile that almost looked gray in the bad lighting. The front desk was inside a small room you saw through a window-hole. The lounge had uncomfortable, dated furniture with an ancient piano, a fire-place that hadn’t been used in years, and a trophy case too large for the pitiful awards stashed inside. It wasn’t intimidating, it was a crap-hole. And as soon as I stepped into my new dorm I realized I loved that crap-hole.
I’ll fast-forward to the part where I see my room for the first time. It’s on the fourth floor in a brightly lit hallway full of doors with keypads. It took my a good five minutes or so to open my damn door, because you had to not only enter a code but also swipe your ID…I felt like an old person, because the whole time I was cursing technology for making me look like such an idiot. So I walked in and found the light switch. Boy do I hate Florissant lighting.There was a bed under a cube of two windows, and on the bed was a stack of boxes. Next to the bed, facing toward the door and against the wall was a lofted bed with the smallest desk I’ve ever seen under it. Two wardrobes were next to the door and I saw my roommate’s suitcase. There was another tiny desk in the smaller nook of the L-shaped room, next to the bed by the window. There were also two bookshelves that could double as a shoe-rack and the door to the bathroom we shared with the next room. It was small, barren, and cold-looking. And guess who had the loft bed with the heavy boxes on top of it? Yours truly! “Do you like the way I set up the room?” was one of the first things my roommate asked. “Yeah!” I lied.
How did I meet my suite mate? I saw outside her door that she was the RA (great…) and her little ‘Where Am I?’ chart said she wasn’t there, so I did something I haven’t done since I was a little kid: I snooped. Through the bathroom, I opened the door to her room, hoping to not only get a sense of who she was, but also see how she had set up her room (this was before my roommate came in). Guess what? She was in there! The chart lied, and I looked like such a freak, just opening the door without knocking. Luckily, all she was doing was reading or studying or something, and not doing anything embarrassing. So I had to make up something on the fly. I wound up going with the I-just-wanted-to-introduce-myself route, which I am terrible at. Small-talk is not my forte, which leads me to my next debacle… So far, I have had zero interaction with anyone in my dorm. The only two instances were a couple of guys banging on my door during my nap yesterday, yelling my name (which was posted outside the door like everyone else’s). So eventually I climbed down from my bed (which is so much harder than it looks) and opened the door. The guys were just walking down the hall, and stopped a minute later to do the same thing to some other poor bastard. My second interaction was today when I walked out of my dorm to class. I was having a sneezing fit, (4 sneezes total) and these other guys were behind me, laughing. After my final sneeze I hear one of them fake a sneeze, mocking me. I just kept walking, embarrassed and furious. Other than the obnoxious blaring of my neighbor’s rap music (not even good rap, either) and a few “excuse me”‘s, “thank you”‘s and “What floor?”‘s, there has been nothing. If I hadn’t had experience with this sort of thing before, I’d be overwhelmed with feeling pathetic about my loner status. However, as it happens, I’m pretty comfortable with it as long as I stay positive. I’ve been trying to emphasize everything good in my mind, like when I’ve had a grilled cheese for lunch and when I helped some girl on campus with directions. I also had dinner and visited Caitlin at her dorm last night, so that was fun. She always encourages me and helps me so I’m not too hard on myself.
I’ve started work, where I am now, so that is a positive, too. I’ll be earning money and interacting with people, as well as getting homework done and not being alone. Classes don’t seem bad for now. French will take some work, just as I expected, but I remember more from first semester than I thought I would. Journalism and English are just matters of sticking it out and getting through one thing at a time, although I am pleasantly surprised at how they both focus on social issues more than my previous classes. Psychology is a toss-up so far, but it seems like a lot of my high school psychology class will overlap with it material-wise. I also got some great news today from home–I made the dean’s list in the School of Journalism! I’m hoping to do the same after this semester, but I have no expectations set. With stuff like that, I tend to keep my standards low in order not to stress out.
Anyway, things can only get better from here, right? The week is halfway over and I’m already planning on taking a trip home next weekend. And I’ve been doing a lot of walking. And I’ve been having a bit of relaxing time every day so far. And I’m staying positive….and praying it sticks.