My First Week of University Part 2

And so the frosh week diaries continue!

(Part 1 can be found here.)

DAY 5: FIRST DAY OF CLASSES

Guess what I woke up to my first actual day of university classes?

That’s right. A fire alarm.

(Yes, I’m still a little salty about it.)

I was already sort-of awake at that point, so it wasn’t really that big of a deal, but it still isn’t exactly fun to roll out of bed in a panic and speed-walk out of the dorm on your first day of class. It also didn’t help that the closest shoes were my Keds (sans moleskin patches), and that on the way out, I split open my heel. Yep, it was definitely a great start to the morning.

Unconventional wakeups aside, the rest of the morning wasn’t actually that bad. Luckily, I’d gotten most of my stuff together the night before, but the early wakeup still meant I was in a bit of a time crunch. With half an hour left to spare, I threw on a nice dress because it was 30 degrees out and I felt like it, tried out some pigtail buns and slapped on a little makeup. My original plan was to put in my contacts and try and make myself a little more presentable, but that didn’t seem to be in the cards.

As it was the first day of classes, some of our Sophs walked a group of us to campus. I walked with them for a little bit before splitting off to find my building and, predictably, got lost. Luckily, I was early and still managed to into the classroom on time.

My class was a little disorienting, mostly because it was so small and the prof has this unnerving habit of coming right up to you and asking you a question, but I think I survived? Honestly, I kind of thought the course would be easier because I took Spanish for two years in high school, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I can’t even roll my rs. The white guy who has trouble pronouncing Spanish vowels can roll his rs. I inherited my father’s gringo genes and am a disgrace to my Latina heritage.

I went back to my dorm after Spanish because I had a couple hours before the next class and decided to get a head start on my readings. On my way to my room, there was this really weird moment where a guy very obviously checked me out (like, super obviously, even for an oblivious human like me), and I kind of stopped like a deer in headlights because like, what? I’m not used to this.

It also turned out that because of all the walking I’d been doing in the last couple days, my feet were mutinying. The one pair of sandals I’d brought were pinching my pinky-toes, so I had to wrap them with more bandages. Also, I may or may not have had a mini-panic attack that day after learning that my Spanish course might not fill my language requirement. (Long story short: I freaked out, contacted the head of my program about it, and got it sorted out. No, it doesn’t cover it, but if I do an exchange in a Spanish-speaking county (exchange being an encouraged part my program and one I’d planned on taking advantage of), that would count.)

After a couple hours of readings, eating and chilling, I headed back out for my next class: Comparative Literature and Culture, which is the second part of my double major because I am both a book nerd and a culture nerd. My prof is super smart and the course is really cool, and also, in my introduction, I somehow ended up explaining my novel to everyone. Not quite sure how that happened, but it did, and it kind of freaks me out and excites me at the same time.

After class ended, I went back to the dorm, did some readings, and then hung out with my friends for a while. Then, sleep. Because I needed it.

DAY 6: SECOND DAY OF CLASSES

Thankfully, my second day of classes was lighter. My only class that day, Classics, was at 11:30 and I shared it with two of my three roommates. Classical history (especially Greek and Roman history) is another of my nerdy focuses, and that’s only gotten stronger since I visited Greece with my school last March Break. Needless to say, I loved it, although I did somehow break a chair when we first got there.

After class, I did my readings like the diligent little student I am and then went down to dinner. That night was closing ceremonies, the official ending of Orientation Week. As I got changed into my Faculty t-shirt and went down to the ceremonies to get my face painted (Arts and Humanities, man), I was a little sad, honestly. As busy and overwhelming as my Orientation Week was, I would miss it. It was pretty fun, after all.

Most of the ceremony was dedicated to showcasing the various faculties and the Sophs of each residence. Each of us had to do a chant and a dance. Our faculty’s was a short video of us all painting a canvas and talking about what we thought the arts were and meant, and then we did a quick chant. Not the most exciting one—that would go to engineering, who again did a Star Wars-themed one (complete with a Rey and Finn cosplay, one of those metal robot creature things, and a light saber fight). General rule is Engineering goes all out. They all painted themselves purple and used approximately two bottles of hair gel each (they spiked their hair up to the point where I was scared to go near them for fear of impalement). One even stuck a lightsaber through her hair. That’s dedication, man.

We stayed at the venue for a little while after Closing Ceremonies finished, as they had a Carnival and Variety Show going on. I wasn’t feeling the greatest (lack of sleep, etc.) so I didn’t go on any of the rides, but I watched some of the shows on the stage. I’m pretty much a skeptic, but the acts I did watch, which included a hypnotist and a “mind-reader” were admittedly pretty convincing.

Afterward, 2/3 of my suitemates went back to our dorm to watch the Karaoke show that was on in the cafeteria and eat a lot of chocolate. All in all, it wasn’t a bad way to end the night.

closing ceremonies orientation week
ART.

DAY 7: CHARITY DAY AND FINAL CONCERT

This was the day.

Look, O-Week was pretty exciting. It was. But the final concert was the best part for me because Walk Off The Earth was playing, and although I wouldn’t call myself a super fan of theirs, I do love their music.

We started off the day early. The first half of the day was to be dedicated to Shinerama, the big charity event of Orientation Week. Unfortunately, the weather was having a temper tantrum, which unfortunately gave us a late start but also fortunately gave me extra time to sleep in.

When we were woken up for real at 8:30, it was thanks to the Sophs and Dons running through the halls, clanging pots and pans and spoons. Not the best way to wake up, especially when you’re already over-tired, but I’d still take it over a fire alarm.

Because of our late wakeup, we were only given a half hour to get ready and eat. Since we were just going to be planting trees, I didn’t bother putting on makeup and managed to get down to the lobby with five minutes to spare.

After a half-hour bus ride in which I somehow got even more tired, we arrived at the area we’d be planting in. The sky looked ominous, and the ground was mostly mud—probably not the best time to be planting, but there was nothing we could do about it.

Generally speaking, I’m not an “outdoors-y” kind of gal. It’s not an intentional thing; like I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I just tend to spend my free time inside, writing on my computer, and also bugs freak me out a little. But mud aside, planting was pretty fun. (It also reinforced how weak I was, because I could barely carry the trees over to where we were planting.)

After a couple of hours, it started to spit, and we all decided to call it quits before the thunderstorm started. Muddy and exhausted (but still pretty happy), we al piled back onto the bus to take us back to the university.

There was a football game going on by the time we arrived, but I opted out in favor of a shower to get rid of the mud. (Another pro tip: don’t wear nice shoes to plant trees. It took me half an hour to clean the mud out of my running shoes just enough to be able to wear them indoors.)

The final concert started at 8:00, with USS, a band I’d never heard of before but now wish I had, opening. We missed most of USS’ set—as we were busy socializing in the hallway, but we made it down eventually, and the show started.

I’m not going to go into huge detail about the concert, because I don’t have time (and this blog post is already long enough), but it was amazing. They sounded as good—maybe even better—live as they do in studio, and they played some of my favourite songs. I danced the concert away with my suitemates.

There are some things to point out, though. A good half of the crowd was drunk and/or high, so there were a lot of intoxicated people. There was one drunk guy who first tried stroking my suitemate’s hair, then putting an arm around her shoulders, and then finally migrating down to her butt. She shoved him away, but then he tried it on two other girls before finally finding someone to grind with. The entire crowd stank of weed, and there were two guys smoking cigarettes in the middle of the crowd, which isn’t just not a nice thing to do—it was dangerous as hell. Also, people are rude and like to either invade your personal space or shove you out of the way. But all in all, it was still pretty damn fun.

I learned a few important lessons during my frosh week. The first is not to worry about all the things you can’t control. Going in to Orientation Week, I was scared as hell that I wouldn’t get along with my suitemates, that I wouldn’t make friends, that the other kids would make fun of me, etc. But that’s not how it turned out. I made a new family of friends who are just as weird as me.

The second is to not be afraid to let go. As someone who’s been hurt a fair amount by people I thought of as “friends”, I’ve long since become conditioned to fear calling attention to myself. This can mean anything from putting my hand up in class to dancing in a crowd to actually showing people I have a personality. But it’s okay to do those things. And if anyone tries to tell you otherwise, screw ‘em. They aren’t worth your time.

After all, it’s your frosh week. And it’s up to you to make the most out of it.

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