My First Week at College: Conquering the Bathrooms and Crushin' on Calvin!
Having just hit the one-week mark of my freshman year of college (I feel like a champion), I shall now tell you all about the goodbye, the cafeteria situation, the showers, the roommate, the classes, the party, the toilets, and the squirrels. Oh, yes—the squirrels.
1. The Goodbye. I love my parents. Saying goodbye to them almost killed me. In fact, while I was on my way to the bathroom to sob uncontrollably, I actually stopped in another bathroom to pull myself together long enough to get to the other bathroom.
2. The Cafeteria Situation. I can describe it in one word: dire. The first few days were the worst. There I was with food I couldn’t even pronounce (I didn’t know how to ask for anything else!), with nowhere to sit, in a dining hall crammed with strangers who looked like they were having the time of their lives. I panicked. It’s gotten loads better since then—I have food in my dorm room, and I’ve made my peace with eating alone if I can’t spot any familiar faces—but on that first day, I took one panic-stricken look around and then proceeded to throw myself on the mercy of the exchange students. Exchange students are always the nicest people. I tried to explain where I lived by pointing out the location on my hand, because that’s what Michigan people do, but I don’t think they fully understood the idea that Michigan is shaped like a mitten, so they were just baffled.
3. The Showers. We all have our routines. I put off taking a shower for a couple days because I wasn’t sure my routine would adapt well to communal bathrooms. Where was I supposed to change, exactly? In the shower itself? In the bathroom stalls while standing on my flip flops? In the dorm room after sprinting through the hallway in nothing but a towel while dodging janitors and gawking boys? And then there were the showers themselves. I literally have to crouch down to get under the shower head. Also—nobody believes this, but I swear it’s true—I can hear whispers coming from the pipes. I’ll look around frantically and think, Chamber of Secrets… Chamber of Secrets…
4. The Roommate. My roommate, Christine, is really nice—but she’s also super active, which is a stark contrast to my slow and slovenly lifestyle. I’m talking stark contrast—she once took a shower, got breakfast, went for a jog, and hung out with a friend before I had even gotten out of bed. I was still rolling around and formulating sentences in the not-a-morning-person vernacular (“ughhh this bed is my only friend and I'll never, ever leave it”) while she was getting stuff done. She goes to the gym every other day, whereas I get lost wandering around the city once a week and consider that a decent workout. She eats healthy food; I brought loads of junk (plus some Mandarin oranges that I still haven't touched). Still, we coexist peacefully... and we have our early morning classes on the same day, so that's a bonus.
5. The Classes. I’ve only just started classes, but so far the professors seem pretty cool and the workload doesn’t seem too demanding… yet. (Watch—in two weeks I’ll be snarling, “Who the $%&* said that about the workload? I never said that about the workload! Shut up!”)
6. The Party. I crept outside my dorm room one night, met a few people, chatted a bit, expanded my comfort zone a little—and somehow we wound up at a party, where I almost stepped in puke and then witnessed some guy urinating on the sidewalk. I like to think I’ve dipped my toes into the college experience.
7. The Toilets. For the first few days, it was 100 degrees. People from southern states were just like, “Psh. Bring it on.” But I did not say, “Psh. Bring it on.” I said, “Just kill me already” and collapsed in a puddle of my own sweat while wondering if this was what heatstroke felt like. You see, there is a particular strain of Michigander that does not deal well with heat. We balk at forecasts with temperatures in the nineties and we wish for cold while clinging to our winter boots and our bulky coats and our nasally, Midwestern accents. So I took to frequenting this really, really nice library with sweet, sweet air conditioning. The only downside was that it has these freaky toilets where you must push the lever up or down depending on whether you went #1 or #2. Suffice it to say, I did the wrong one and the toilet got angry and started to vibrate, which was a twist I wasn’t expecting.
8. The Squirrels. The squirrels. This place has really friendly squirrels. In my hometown, the squirrels will bolt if you take a step toward them from twenty feet away. Here, the squirrels do not bolt. Here, the squirrels will practically start going through your pockets if you’re not paying attention.
I’m going to be perfectly honest—I wasn’t crazy about this whole college thing. Sharing my room with a stranger? Sharing a bathroom with a whole slew of strangers? AHHH. I was so not ready for this—who the hell said I was ready for this? But slowly, after an arduous process of stiff reluctance, I can actually feel myself accepting this new life and this new place. It’s not half bad.
Plus—remember the cute guy I met at orientation? Calvin? I’ve kept my eyes peeled, and the other day I finally saw him. Of course, we made eye contact, then bowed our heads and kept going. That’s what socially awkward people do, and I think it’s been established that we could build monuments to our combined social incompetence. Anyway, he came up to me after and said, “I thought that was you!” We had a short conversation, which was interrupted by my need to pee (thus, the freaky toilets) and I mentioned the encounter to my friend Tish when I met up with her later.
She looked excited. “I thought I saw him in the cafeteria the other day! We should try to find him again. He was cool to hang out with at orientation, wasn’t he?”
We continued to chat about Calvin, and in doing so I realized that a) I might have a teeny, tiny crush on him, and b) Tish quite possibly does, too.
It's like Elodie is re-living our freshman year, right down to the shower-phobia and heatstroke. IS THIS SOME SORT OF TIME WARP? Is her experience similar to yours so far? Should Elodie track down Calvin? We think YESSSSS!
Related post: NBK Michigan archives