“I was terrified:” The Weeks Before Move-In Day
I looked around the patio table outside the frozen yogurt place. My yogurt hadn’t melted yet; the terrible heat of June had left Dallas. It was August, two weeks away from Move-In Day.
“What?” Kristin and Alicia looked at me between bites of their cones.
“Is this just me… or are y’all scared for college too?”
Kristin and Alicia, two of my best friends since fifth grade, looked at each other and then looked at me. “Oh my gosh, Sophie, we’re terrified.”
And then all of us started laughing.
Between all the cute dorm décor shopping, the cooking with my high school friends, game nights, dorm Pintrest Pins, frozen yogurt, the Dallas Art Museum, college pamphlets arriving from Vanderbilt, and wayyy too many introductions on the Facebook group, the summer after my senior year of high school was a calm whirlwind. I could have sworn that some of those days lasted forever… the days when my friends and I drove around suburban Dallas, hunting for a garage sale, or the afternoons when we sat on the kitchen floors in each other’s houses, gossiping about different high school classmates and stalking others’ Instagrams and Tumblrs (“Awww… that’s so cute!”) And then suddenly, as if the months had just blown away in those hot July breezes*, it was all over. We had put our graduation party money in the bank, we were all packed, and day by day, different friends left for college—TCU, University of Texas, St. Edward’s, Texas A&M. A week after our last frozen-yogurt trip came the day when my best friend since age 2 left for the University of Utah. We hugged each other tight and said goodbye, with all the promises of texting each other and calling every month. After going to the same church for 18 years, and living just blocks away from each other, saying goodbye didn’t seem real.
Seven days were left and although I felt that I couldn’t do any more to prepare for college, I still felt that I wasn’t ready. I had no idea what my roomie was really like, even though we had been snapchatting for fifty (50) consecutive days. (We had the fire!) I didn’t know anything about the friends I would make. I was scared of getting B’s in school, something that adults, smiling smugly, had told me happens to all children who always get A’s. I had been assured that I would cry once I got my first B. I was determined not to. What if I didn’t fit in? What if everyone thought I was unfriendly? I could be unfriendly sometimes, accidentally. What if I meant to be nice and accidentally offended someone? The possibilities for failure were endless.
I was terrified.
The ten hour drive to Nashville from Dallas was calm. I slept, my mum and I talked. I guess part of me had been waiting for that moment when your mom sits down with you and tells you something deep and revealing about herself, but that moment didn’t happen. Over the car ride, I realized that if my mum had any super important life advice to share, she had obviously imparted it to me over the years, and was not about to now.
When we finally drove to Vanderbilt, we followed the signs and asked for directions to the “Vanderbilt Commons.” The name that would become so familiar to me was completely foreign now. What was a “Commons?” I wondered. Vague references to it had been made during the short tour I went on, but I couldn’t remember anything definite.
And then… oh my gosh. Hundreds of screaming blue people, wildly waving and smiling, greeted my car. I tried to not look at anyone in particular; now, I’m sure I had a slight grimace on my face. But they didn’t care. They were just so happy to have another student at Vanderbilt, and over the next year, most of the upperclassmen I met made me feel so welcome in my new home.
This year, I will be one of those screaming blue people (although, I’m pretty sure the color changes every year J). I and my fellow, lovely though slightly evil, comrades will be waiting for you as you drive up with your parents. Your parents will look at us over their free coffee, courtesy of Vanderbilt, and say, “Oh! How sweet! Look up, look up! They’re cheering for YOU!” and you’ll slink down in your seat, unnerved by our excitement. It’s okay, dear reader! We slunk down in our seats, too. We know what it’s like to watch your car being unloaded in five minutes by the Move-In crew. We know what it’s like to stand in a dorm room with an unknown roomie and his or her mom, the floor covered in all that cute dorm décor, and no idea of where to start. We know.
We’ll be there for you on Move-In Day. If you have any questions, we’d love to answer them. If you need a mallet or want to know where the restroom is (usually in the center of each hall), we’ll be able to tell you. If you’re not sure about something on a form, we’re the people to ask.
And hey, in the meantime, if you have any questions, let me know! My email is Sophia.email@example.com, and I usually answer pretty quickly!
Good luck, sweet freshman!
*Sorry, y’all, I had to. :)