Rewind to the morning of September 3, 2013. I wake up and already my heart is pounding. Getting out of bed and getting dressed is a blur as a multitude of questions race through my head. Do I look tired? Am I hungry? Should I eat before or after class? Do I have all my books? Should I take all my books? Am I dressed to impress? I’m jittery. My palms are sweating. I furiously drink water to calm my nerves: here we go.
I walk towards my classes and when I get there, I know nobody. I attempt to greet people with a smile but I probably look like a half-asleep crazy person with a smile that reads, “I’M TERRIFIED HELP ME.” Wait did someone just ask me what my name was? Uh oh, now there’s been an awkward silence that makes it seem like I don’t know what my own name is. I manage to squeak out “Girija” followed by a “nice to meet you too.” Oof that was rough; this is going to be a long year.
But wait that was the first day and now, it’s warm again. I finished my last exam of freshman year. Everyone has started pulling out their cardboard boxes to pack up their rooms for the summer. I officially made it through one year, and it feels so surreal. It felt like just yesterday that I waved goodbye to my family and promised my mom I would call her every day (moms, we love you, but I have to be honest…this just doesn’t happen). Just yesterday that everyone left their suite doors open so we could all meet each other and bond with our wonderful RAs. Yesterday that our entire class dressed up for Convocation and walked there together. But when I stop to think about it, I realize just how much has changed.
I no longer respond to the first alarm on my phone, but will probably be coherent by the fifth. I don’t put as much thought into my outfits mainly because I don’t always wake up on time. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many icebreakers I have experienced this year, but it’s been enough for me to recognize a lot of faces around campus. Now when I smile at another new person it’s less terrified, and more of a “Hey we’ve been here at this place together but never met each other, how are you doing” sort of smile.
I’ve found things that I am passionate about, and have been encouraged to pursue them. I’ve been engaged in conversations and in arguments that have taught me to either become knowledgeable on a topic, or that I simply will not agree with certain people on an issue, and that’s okay. I’ve learned how to become a good note-taker and studier, and also learned how unfortunate it is to be a procrastinator. I learned how fulfilling it is to get to know your professors, and how much fun and helpful group studying can be.
I’ve had the opportunity to explore the city and feel even more comfortable with calling Baltimore home. Speaking of home, I’ve had the opportunity to find some amazing friends. Together we’ve rarely been normal, which made it a lot easier for us to become a somewhat functional family. I can’t wait for more of our crazy plans in the years to come.
Freshman year has been fantastic, and I can’t believe it’s over but I’m so excited to see what’s in store for the next couple of years. Next up: Summer at Hopkins…I can’t wait!