It’s August and move-in day, and you’ve just set up everything that you own into one half of a tiny room. Mom hugged you goodbye for the hundredth time and dad slipped some extra cash into your pocket and you stood curbside in front of your new home as your parents pulled away in the empty car that only a few hours ago barely had enough room for the steering wheel. As the family car that was your ride to school each morning disappeared around the corner, you were left standing alone with your yellow M-card and that first smack of reality hit. It wasn’t subtle and it wasn’t nice. All that was running through your head was “What in the hell am I supposed to do now?”
One year later, freshmen can see that their first year most likely entailed a lot of confusion and separation adjustments. But don’t sweat it; everyone has been there. Maybe everyone wasn’t hit with that reality check in the same way (maybe your dad only gave you a pat on the back), but more or less it was there.
If you were among the lucky ones, you already knew at least one person. Maybe they came from your hometown, or you had bonded during orientation or they are your cousin’s boyfriend’s ex-babysitter’s son from his first marriage.
Who knows how you knew them, but this person, at least for the first few moments, was your best friend. Well, that was of course until you found your self en route to this kid’s friend’s frat house for a party in a group of 40 of your new best friends.
But, in their defense, a group this large is usually necessary for a bunch of people whose only definite directional point of reference is “the Rock.” Granted, for freshman who are new to the area, or people who just lack all sense of direction, the rock seems to be the greatest compass.
So, you passed the rock, made it to the frat that’s name is delta something, or possibly sigma, or was it beta? You probably weren’t sure, because after one day at college you had yet to have mastered the Greek alphabet.
Looking back, the parties were just one big blur of faces and names that you’ll never really remember, except for when months later you walked down State Street and found yourself doing a double take of some random girl and thought to yourself, “Hey, I think I partied with her during Welcome Week.”
When the nights were over, it was back to the dorm. This process was probably not one that you are faced alone. The situation may have been good or it may have been bad, but nothing in the years of home life, that you had left behind, prepared you for … the college roommate.
Maybe he snored, smelled or hoarded food from the dining hall under his bed, but either way he were yours until the end of the year.
“I think that you should be able to switch (roommates) at the semester,” suggested LSA freshman Alisa Seewald. Although she admits that she got lucky in the whole roommate selection process and, despite a rough beginning, they get along really well now. “We didn’t talk for the first three weeks, I just didn’t like her, but now I can’t even remember why.”
“The beginning was just hard” agreed Seewald and roommate Jenny Gastwirth, an LSA freshman. Their friend Sarah Kramer added “I think I went a straight month with no friends.”
But this quest for friendship is often the leading factor in why most girls said that they decided to go through that annual week of “parties” called rush. However, according to LSA freshman Rebecca Tobin, while “Rush (in the end) is effective, it is not enjoyable.”
“It was overwhelming” said Gastwirth, who then agreed that in the end, the process does seem to work. Plus, knowing once you were in a house and had a place to the live next year, it relieved a lot of stress.
At this point in the year, most freshmen are still unsure of some of their friend’s last names, let alone whether or not they are sane enough to share an apartment with them for a year.
LSA freshman Josh Beckett admitted to his friend Bryan Cooley, an LSA freshman, that he did not know what his last name was until just last month, and they have known each other all year. The consensus among most was that the housing situation is definitely one that should be addressed to a greater degree during orientation.
Orientation, that two-and-a-half day trip that poses as a way for freshman to get a feel of college life, “It’s not accurate at all. It is a quick glimpse of college life, but has nothing to do with academics at all,” said LSA freshman Chase Howland.
“I definitely did not know what to expect, but it is not easier than I thought,” stated Beckett as he discussed how he perceived college courses would be after attending orientation.
Despite the fact that most freshmen admitted to getting stressed out over classes, many still claimed to sleep through a majority of those classes, either in their own beds or in the lecture halls themselves.
Apart from the stresses of adjusting to roommates and college classes, one of the biggest concerns among freshman seems to be the dorm food. “First semester was a tease, the food has gotten way worse,” said Cooley.
When asked if he liked eating in the dorm, Howland replied “I don’t enjoy the food, but I enjoy eating with the boys.” This ongoing battle with the University may be one students never win, along with the struggle to feel comfortable using the communal bathrooms.
“This one kid on my hall won’t even walk into his room wearing his shower shoes. He takes them off in the hall,” said Tobin. Yet, another freshman, who shall remain anonymous, claimed that he would have no problem using his toothbrush if it fell on the bathroom floor, just as long as it didn’t land bristle side down.
While freshman may differ on the rules of hygiene, there seems to be no debate on the video front. Walk into any dorm room on this college campus and you’re about 99 percent (please note that this statistic may not have been accurately computed) guaranteed to find a copy of at least one or all of the following: “Zoolander” (which LSA freshman Sarah Kramer admits she doesn’t own, but did steal from someone else.), “The Usual Suspects,” “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Fight Club” (because even when beaten to a bloody pulp, Brad Pitt still looks good).
And would a late night showing of one of these be complete without your favorite late night treat, which for Beckett, Cooley and LSA freshman Brian Harrington is Jimmy John’s.
It has been a long time since that moment when your parents drove away and you were left standing on your own. Looking back, Gastwirth says that she and the girls on her hall in Markley have “All grown up together.”
Soon it will be time to pack up everything in your tiny room that over the past months has taken on a whole new meaning of home, and not to mention a whole new odor (probably from that piece of pepperoni that fell in the crack between your desk and your dresser that was always just a little bit to far to reach).
You’ll say goodbye to your roommate – that is if you are still speaking at this point – and then you’ll be back on your way home. But don’t worry, you will be back next fall (even if you’re failing, because the University is cool enough to give you a stab at three semesters before they kick you out).