Sunday, June 24, 2012

Home, Suite, Home

Today was the day that we've been all waiting for--the day that we finally visit Columbia and move into our dorm rooms. Ultimately, my morning can be summarized with three words--packing, panicking, and pancakes. Packing because I had neglected to do so the previous night, panicking because I had no idea of what to expect next, and pancakes simply because that’s what I had for breakfast this morning. When we finished breakfast, we returned to the hotel for the last time and after gathering our all of our luggage, we went by taxi to our new home--Columbia University. 

Each hall has it's own theme--our's is Powerpuff Girls!
At first, I was worried about being separated from everyone, but as it turns out, everyone was placed in the same building--Carman Hall! Well, everyone expect for Morvarid. As it turns out, rather than having single sex buildings, Carman Hall has single sex floors. Because of this, Lenny and Lucas are on the 9th floor, whereas I'm on the 10th, and Aurea and Adrianne are on the 11th. While none of us are on the same floor, I think just being in the same dormitory is lucky enough!

After we figured out our dorm situations, we made our way to our respective dorm rooms. This was when I met my first of my 3 suite-mates, Elizabeth "Lizzy" Pott. Lizzy and I soon found out that we both had a lot in common. Not only are we both rising juniors and think that flight is the best super power ever, but we’re also going to be taking the same class, Constitutional Law! However, before I could get fully situated in my new dorm room, Mrs. L arrived along with Aurea, Adrianne, and Morvarid so that we could pick up the boys  for a make a quick trip to the University’s bookstore in order to buy or textbooks, school supplies, and Columbia memorabilia.

While there was a minor mishap that prevented us from getting our textbooks, we were still able to buy our school supplies and our Columbia souvenirs.

After we finished shopping, it was time to say goodbye to Mrs. L, since after students move into their dorms, no parents or guardians are allowed on campus until the final day of the program. While we will be meeting with her everyday afterschool, it was still a bit sad to have to say goodbye, since she spent the entire trip taking care of us and making sure that everything went according to schedule. Honestly, I miss her already!

After saying goodbye, we went our separate ways once more. When I returned to my room, I finished settling in and met my other two suitemates not too long after. After hanging out and chatting for a bit, we met with Andrea and two other girls who we shared an RA with, Francis and Kristen. We introduced ourselves and then headed down to the auditorium for the mandatory BBQ.  

My RA--or Residential Assistant--Andrea.
Unlike most BBQs, this one was held indoors and after all the grilling had been done. The food on the other hand was a lot more traditional and they had all the classics, including burgers, hotdogs, watermelon, potato salad, and pasta. In addition, all the food was absolutely delicious—I just hope that the dining hall’s food is half as good!

When we finished dinner, we headed back to our floor for an orientation with our RA. During the orientation, we went over the program’s rules as well as the consequences for breaking them, which tends to be expulsion. One of the most important rules concerns our curfew. We’re to be either on our floor or in our rooms my 11:00 PM Sunday through Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday. Being between one to five minutes later results in your curfew being reduced by one hour the next day, while, being five minutes to ten late means that the next day your curfew is at 7:00 PM. If you’re more than 10 minutes late means a referral to the main office. Even if you were to call your RA beforehand about being late, no matter if you’re excuse is valid or not you would be held liable for being late and you will receive punishment. While this may seem a bit strict, I understand that this is both for our safety and to help instill a sense of responsibility within the students.   After we finished going over the rules, we went over the procedures we need to go through to go in and out of our dorms, and when that was over, we received free Columbia water bottles!

Later, Andrea took our group to a local sweets cafĂ©—Crumbs. There I shared a cupcake with one of my roommates, Francesca, while we talked more about ourselves and our expectations for the upcoming three weeks. When we finished eating, we returned to the dorms for a well-deserved rest after a long day.   

It's only been a few hours since we've arrived, but I already really love it here. The campus is wonderful, and everyone here is really friendly. The only thing left now is one more orientation, this time with all the high school students, and the first day of class. I’m really excited for tomorrow, but also really nervous. Tomorrow is that day that all the work that everyone has put into making this a reality finally pays off, so I fully intend to make the best of everything and make sure that our hard work doesn’t go to waste. 

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