Sunday, June 28, 2015

First Impressions 2.0

Although the only planned item on our itinerary was checking in to Columbia in the afternoon, the cohort woke up early and swooped up some bagels from a little shop across the street before going to watch the Pride parade. (As New York is quite known for their bagels, my standards were fairly high, and unfortunately not completely met.) We arrived early, per our usual (meaning the cohort as a whole and not me as an individual), to make sure that we could actually see the parade before it became too crowded and busy. 

The streets lining the parade were a flurry of color, people, flags, and excitement. Amid the very loud music - the bass from the speakers pounding in my chest - and the cheering, many supporters of the new ruling strode across 5th Avenue in groups separated by their different organizations and companies. My personal highlight was probably seeing Sir Ian McKellen, better known as Gandalf and Magneto, sitting atop a car only around 15 ft. away from where I was standing. 

We watched the parade for a good hour before returning to the hotel to pick up our bags and hit the Metro to go to Columbia University! No one was feeling very hungry so we opted out of lunch and decided to wait for the barbecue at the school which turned out to be more of an indoor build-your-own-burger type deal. (It was still delicious though.)

A window of opportunity. 
Struggling up and down the stairs to and from the Metro with my large luggage was strenuous but well worth the struggle and I felt victorious upon reaching the ground-level of Columbia. Once we had actually reached the school, however, everything happened really quickly. We checked in and received our über-important IDs and dorm assignments. And then it was time to say goodbye to each other (temporarily, of course). Originally, I had thought nothing of our Columbia check-in and figured it would only be an introduction to something new and not the end of something else, but soon realized that this meant the end of our cohort's late night blog parties, and the goodbye felt a lot more serious.The other thing I hadn't given much thought until I was actually there was the sheer magnitude of people that were staying at Columbia and was later informed that it numbered around 1,100 people. *whistles* In addition, quite a few flew internationally and across the world just to come study at Columbia for the summer.

As we all went our separate ways into our different dorm buildings (even though Mark and I had the same one), I felt truly independent. And being perfectly honest, it was scary. I felt like I was grasping in the dark for signs of familiarity as I met new people and unpacked my things in my new room. 

Thankfully, my room turned out to be a single. It was comforting to know that I wouldn't be bothering anybody with my poor organization skills, late-night bed times, and tendency to break out into occasional song and dance. I was most immediately impressed by the hotel key style lock on the dorm room itself, until it registered that the key was my ID and that I would have to keep track of it for the next three weeks.

Since my Resident Advisor (RA) had given us more than enough time to unpack, I decided to do a little exploring by myself and wandered aimlessly around the campus, gazing at all the edifices. Before long, it was time to check back in with my floor mates and we had a very - how should I say this - interesting icebreaker session involving spirit animals and zodiac signs.

As I mentioned previously, we had burgers for dinner. I sat with a few girls from my floor,  still unwilling to tiptoe too far into the adventurous end of interaction. I wasn't exactly nervous talking to other high-school kids from all over the world but I felt out of place at times and unmotivated to socialize, especially since I didn't feel like I was good at making first impressions myself. But by the end of the day, I had chatted with a few more people, made a couple of friends, and felt a little bit better. Like most things, I suppose, relationships take time. 

The dinner was followed by an orientation laying down the cold hard law (of behavior and conduct) and a brief tour of the college. From then on we had free reign, relatively limited free reign albeit but free reign nonetheless. And after giving the "Summer Jam" dance party a quick look, I chose to reunite with my cohort and discuss important matters in life chiefly pertaining to our fresh experiences and impressions of Columbia University instead. We discussed these matters on a snack trip to the grocery store just outside of campus and spent the subsequent hour and a half lying down on a wide ledge and discussing our own first impressions of each other, complete with loud laughter. We also poked quite a bit of fun at Mark for buying a gallon of water solely for the plastic container, reminding him of the abundance of water fountains and refill stations available at his beck and call. Basically, we hung out all together again after a long three hours of individual adjustments to our new surroundings; and it was a blast. 
Columbia University's large library.
Determined not to live a dangerous life dancing on the mere outskirts of curfew, I went back to my dorm room early and with a smile. 

Things could only go up from here, starting with the elevator at the very least. 

1 comment:

  1. Even though you don’t have a roommate, I hope you reach out to the others on your floor to make new friends from around the world. It will be special and will generate memories that will impact your future.