It’s not that I didn’t understand how big 12 x 15 feet was – I just didn’t realize how much bigger the culmination of my favorite possessions would be. I hauled 20 pairs of shoes, one ceramic chicken bowl and a quesadilla maker from Rochester Hills to East Lansing. My parents ended up taking a lot of my so-called “favorite possessions” back, but it turns out I can live without them. After all, I wasn’t at college to admire my blue ceramic chicken bowl. I was at college to write some interesting papers, get a respectable degree and make a few friends in the process.
Although the extraneous possessions were an accident, arriving a day early was on purpose. I came into college with a plan for making friends. Call me na├»ve, but I figured that if I got all of my stuff moved in early, I could spend the regular freshman move-in day helping other freshmen move in. It seemed like a foolproof way to meet some new people. I’d help carry a futon up the stairs in return for eternal friendship. So I was up bright and early on freshman move-in day. And I was the only one. [spirit1]
It turned out that most of the people on my floor were upperclassmen. And by most, I mean all. I was the only person at my freshman floor meeting. Furthermore, all of my upperclassmen floor-mates were already settled in. Apparently, I live by the music building, because close to 80 percent of my floor is in marching band and had thus moved in weeks ago. Temporarily forgoing my floor, I decided to start small and make friends with my roommate, Jackie.
Although Jackie is a sophomore, we have a lot in common. O.K., not a lot. But on a floor where everybody else is in marching band, not knowing how to play the fight song creates a good enough reason to start a friendship. She scared me at first, especially when she text messaged me a week before move-in day to tell me that she’d bought us, of all things, a peace lily. I was pretty sure she’d be some sort of hippie, and I was prepared for all sorts of stereotypes. As it turned out, she had relatively short hair, and if she does smoke pot she certainly keeps it under wraps. She ice skates and loves all genres of music, which was cool by me. Really, we get along well. I even contributed to the foliage I once feared, and we have multiple plants now.
Hoping to meet some more people, I attended the UAB sponsored events for all of Welcome Week. I know, people with lives went to frat parties, drank, basically had good times. But I? I was at midnight bingo, and on the free bus trip to Meijer. And who did I attend these blessed events with? Why, none other than my resident mentor – who happens to be a darling junior named Jenn. In a sneaky way, my first real friend turned out to be my resident mentor. Granted, Jenn was obligated to hang out with me, but something good came of it. [UAB1]
The other part of my friend-making plan – that didn’t rely on my hall-mates needing a move-in helper – was to meet some new friends in the cafeteria. I saw myself approaching a random group of people, asking to sit down and just hoping for the best. But the thing is, you never see these people twice. You eat with them once and they’re gone. By the time you’re done discussing where you live in relation to one another and what activities you participated in during high school, you’ve finished your meal and have to get to class. You can’t really call them friends.
Also, I know it is still very early in the year, but it seems like a lot of the people I have met so far still hang out with people from their high schools. I wasn’t anxious to jump onto that bandwagon, but, to be honest, it’s a lot easier than going up to random people in the cafeteria. So I looked up some of my friends from the good ol’ days that were now at MSU. They were all boys. I’m not sure how that happened, statistically speaking. I had just as many female friends as male friends, but somehow none of my female friends came to MSU. So I hung out with a lot of guys for a day. Dinner was nice, but then I caught myself watching SportsCenter. What’s weirder, I caught myself not minding watching SportsCenter, and I hate sports. I was scared of this development, and I scooted out of there.
Beside the friend-making mission I have embraced since my arrival at MSU, academics also have occupied a good chunk of my time here so far. School work – that minor detail that comes with being at college. I’ve never really been one to actually study, so I figured college was the time to learn how to be a good student. Better late than never, right? Invigorated by this new take on school, I set out to study. I started small by printing out all of my syllabi. A pack of printer paper later, I moved on to digesting them. I put all of the dates in the planner I’d been given at AOP, and went to buy some books.
[meijer]Don’t try to tell me that the book stores around MSU are retailers. Those places are more like jungles. All I could think about was that scene in the Lion King where Mufasa gets trampled by the crowd of antelope and dies, even though he’s a really big, strong lion. I’m not a big and strong person, so I was a little worried that the crowd would just envelop me. Luckily, I made it to the customer service desk in one piece. Roar.
It turned out I’d accidentally purchased the wrong books, so I had to return them before I moved on to getting the correct texts. After a half hour of explaining to a cashier that I had accidentally printed out my spring schedule instead of my fall schedule, I was finally able to move on to the book-finding phase of my adventure. I used to work in a library, and locating books has never really been a problem for me. But at this particular college bookstore, there was a plethora of different abbreviations to sort through. The trouble came when I reached the Ws. I couldn’t find the WRA section. I know the alphabet; they weren’t fooling me. Apparently they had moved all the WRA books to a little alcove on the end of the store. Completely out of sequence. But with the help of some extremely merciful employee, I managed to get through my book-buying extravaganza, and eventually emerged with a small fortunes worth of textbooks. [spirit2]
When I got further into classes, I realized how little I actually used these textbooks. I don’t think I’ve even cracked open my math book, to be honest. On the plus side, I am reading a lot. In fact, I’m probably one of the only college students that blow off reading to read. A friend leant me Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, and I just can’t bear to let that marinate while I read for my Monday exam. I mean, it’s good stuff. Plus, I’ve got to get it back to my friend. So I’ve been spending my time reading Marlowe with my door open, and actually, it hasn’t been half bad.
That’s pretty much where I stand now, about one month into my freshman year. I’m close friends with my resident mentor, I eat lunch with some boys I know from high school, and I am still working on meeting more people in my classes. I have conquered, not without difficulty and a large hole in my pocket, the several-hours-long process that is buying books. I try to study, and then feel guilty when I don’t. And sometimes I whip up a quesadilla. I didn’t let my parents take that prized possession back to Rochester Hills.

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