Alriiigghhhtttt…since I have so much to update you all on (and by “you all” I mean the 4 people who used to read my entries), I’m going to break it into sections. I’ll start with each of my 3 terms of freshman year and then work outwards to social life, relationships, etc. Sound good? Good.
Moving in was a day with so many emotions. Mostly, it was bittersweet. I remember standing in the middle of my empty bedroom, the place where I have spent the majority of my life for the past 11 years, and just being baffled that even though I was moving out it still looked remotely the same. Like, isn’t everything supposed to be wildly different once you move out? For me, I was shocked at how much it still looked like my room. In a way, it was comforting because I knew that I could come back home and have it still be home.
There were a lot of tears when I said goodbye to my family; they helped me unpack and get my side of the room ready for when my roommate finally arrived (I moved in a week early for a theatre camp in downtown Chicago), we sat and suffered in the heat for three hours because the air conditioning in my building was apparently not turned on yet, and then we ate hotdogs and tried to socialize with all the other camp participants and their parents. Eventually, I had to go to the opening ceremony for my camp and it was time to say goodbye to my family for the first time in my whole 18 years. (I should note that I’m getting anxious and choked up just thinking about this moment). I walked my parents and little brother (who is 16 and towers over me at 6’0) to my dad’s car, and that’s when we pretty much fell apart. I don’t remember who I said goodbye to first. I think it was my brother Michael, who laid his head down on my shoulder and shook with tears. We have a pretty close relationship now as we are growing older, but hadn’t particularly gotten along always growing up. However, his raw emotion is something that I felt so strongly and since then, I have a new appreciation for my brother who is fixated on making sure his hair falls nicely and gives me crap about literally everything I do. Up next was my dad, who gave me a hug, let me cry on his shoulder, and tearfully told me that he would text me so we could get lunch soon. I have seen my father cry a handful of times in my life; twice when his older brother and father passed away, twice when we put our dogs down, and once when my aunt passed away. I can add the day he moved me in to NCC as one of those days and I was not expecting it. Like Michael, my dad’s emotion rocked me.
I knew saying goodbye to my mom was going to be the hardest thing for me – over the past four years we have grown closer than I could have ever hoped and ever thought I wanted. She is my best friend (I know I’ve mentioned this before). I clung to my mom as though it was going to be the last time I saw her ever (even though I only go to school 20 minutes away from my house). She told me to be strong and that she was proud of me and of course, to call and text her whenever I needed/wanted to. She was so strong, and I could see through her tears that she really was proud of me. Everything I do, I do it for my family. They are my biggest support system and I could do nothing without them.
I went to theatre camp and it ended up being a little bit of a bust – mostly it was an awkward weekend spent with people I didn’t know, competing to impress the theatre department chair. I look back on that weekend and I think that’s when I started to become more unhinged from theatre. It was a gradual process but doing that camp definitely set it off. I did meet a really great friend, though! Elizabeth and I got each other through that weekend and although we aren’t as close anymore, she was my first friend at NCC and I have a special place in my heart for her.
Honestly, first term was such a blur. There is, of course, the awkward stage of getting to know your roommate, balancing social lives with academia, trying not to get lost on campus or in the buildings, accidentally sleeping through your 9 AM finite mathematics class, getting sick the first time away from home, inevitable homesickness, and getting used to the craziness that is college. Not all of it was bad, though! I met so many amazing friends and have a lot of crazy memories with my roommate Taylor from first term (ones that we do NOT expel to just the average reader). Something that I struggled with a lot that I didn’t expect was balancing school friends with Ed, my boyfriend at the time (more on that in a separate post). While Taylor didn’t mind him hanging out in our room or being on campus with us occasionally, I didn’t particularly enjoy mixing the two groups of people in my life. At the time, I didn’t understand why; however, I think looking back, I liked the fact that I had a life separate from Ed and wanted to maintain that for as long as I could before I had to be back in a twosome. Don’t get me wrong, I loved hanging out with Ed. It was just harder to balance the two than I thought it would be.
A huge blessing in my life came to me the second week of freshman year, on September 22nd to be exact (I remember because it was Ed and I’s 9 mo anniversary). I auditioned for a coed a cappella group on campus. At this point, I had no idea about collegiate a cappella other than what they show in Pitch Perfect. I went into the audition mildly terrified but also very excited – essentially they had us sight read a verse and a chorus of Pompeii by Bastille and sing, individually, a verse and a chorus of a song of our choosing. I decided, haphazardly, to sing Sun by Sleeping at Last. Nervous doesn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling but as soon as I got onto that stage and started the song, I felt good – like it was destined that I was supposed to be singing one of my favorite songs for a bunch of random strangers. By the grace of God, I was selected from 60 people to be 1/8 new members of Sonata Problem. I don’t know how to describe how amazing they are, but I love each and every one of them, past and present. But more on them later!!!
First term of my freshman year of college (so weird, still) was a whirlwind of activity and emotion packed into 10 short weeks. There were times when all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and scream; other times, I felt like I could conquer anything and everything, and dared anyone to tell me otherwise. It was probably my least favorite term this year, but in retrospect I don’t think that’s fair to say because I wouldn’t change any of it – every single thing that happened in those 10 weeks made me into the person/student/friend/daughter I am today! And that’s pretty darn cool.
I know this wasn’t a super in-depth rehash of first term but it’s honestly a little foggy. I told the important parts, but mostly it’s important for anyone who is gearing up for their first (or second, third, or fourth) year at school to remember that even when your world feels like it’s crashing down onto you or you’re holding your 16 year old brother by the shoulders and telling him that all he has to do is drive 20 minutes to see you, college is such an incredible experience and to get ready for the best 4 years of your life (so far)! All the struggle, stress, anxiety, money, exams, cram sessions, all-nighters, everything is so freaking worth it.
That’s all I’ve got tonight. I’ll be back tomorrow to rehash my second term (and maybe my third if you’re lucky)! For now, I’m going to listen to sad music from the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack because sometimes, it’s what you need.
Elizabeth and I on our second-to-last-day at Theatre Camp, at Navy Pier in downtown Chicago
I love this picture…it’s me, my roommate Taylor, and our next-door neighbor Dominique. This was taken in November and little did we know, in a matter of months we would all be best friends and would be rooming together in the fall of 2016!
SONATA PROBLEM at our first gig! Well…a tiny fraction of us. But still! We are here!!
The above two are Ed and I on our one-year anniversary. We went ice skating and just spent time together at his house, coincidentally getting each other the same gift of scrapbooks and photo albums (because I love scrapbooking and he knew how much I loved pictures). This was probably my favorite day spent with him.
Starting off 2016 the right way!