Monday, June 04, 2007

I can't wait to own this place.

That's what I thought after orientation was over and I was walking from the bookstore to Richardson Towers.

It's beautiful when it's not too hot. (When it's hot, and you have to walk, nothing is beautiful.)

By 'own it', I meant I wanted to be familiar and comfortable and zip my way around campus on my bike. (But no puppy in the basket!)

Orientation was Thursday and Friday. It was the first orientation session, and the best for us, since parents had to come (or were strongly urged to attend) and Mom's having surgery this week that would make orientation impossible. But it will greatly improve her life, I hope.

Orientation was boring and overwhelming at the same time.

Boring because we heard things that we'd read on the handouts, read on the website, heard from administrators before, and what we'd heard since middle school!

Pain in the ass. I was "required" to go to a financial aid workshop, and it was mostly about loans. And they didn't check roll.

But it was a lot of fun.

Thursday was cloudy and cool, and most of the buildings were freezing, and most of us were in shorts. Friday was hot and mostly sunny, and the buildings were not always freezing. We had to go to a career seminar before we could go on our own to register or tour the library or go to that workshop.

We'd been told Thursday that we should sit up front or at least in the "T". So after that, I sat in the first few rows everywhere, including the career seminar, which was embarrassing, because I got overheated, and I had to get out of there now, and I was in the front row!

But I left. My health matters more than hearing the same thing over and over again.

I went and took the French placement test. It didn't take the projected 20 minutes to half an hour, but I didn't make it into French 2. The minimum for that was 280 and I got 239. I'm glad. The last year I took French was my junior year, which is now 2 years behind me. I was going to take French 3 my senior, but they didn't bother tell me I couldn't until the Friday before school started - after registration! (Not enough people signed up, and this was an Honors course, which required an 'essay' (paragraph of lies) about why you wanted to take this test, and a parent's signature! It still bugs me, though not as much.

There was a party at the rec center Thursday night, and I didn't go. Apparently, everyone went between 6:45 and 7, even though our schedule said 7:30. They provided transportation back to Richardson Towers afterwards, but not before. I'd done a lot of walking that day, and I was exhausted. My mom could have driven me there, but I said no. I read outside, and then went to my room, which I'll get to later.

The food was okay, and I ate every meal alone except lunch on Thursday. Parents and students had separate dinners that night, and breakfast the next morning was only for parents who stayed in the towers, though my mom could have eaten with me. And lunchwas hot dogs and chips in Brister on floor below where we actually registered, and somebody had a doctor's appointment.

I'm not going in chronological order, am I?

My mom learned some things that I wished they'd told us. AP classes, dual enrollment, and home school transcripts don't mean that much at the bottom line - it's your ACT or SAT scores. (ACT, mostly. I don't know why it's the southern test, but I got a 29 the first time and a 30 the next - no studying!)

I knew nobody there, because I graduated a year earlier. They were nice, but I didn't recognize a soul.

We were assigned roommates, but mine decided to sleep in a friend's room. (I'm guessing her friend didn't have one or the roommate was willing to leave.)

However, I needed a roommate. My fentanyl patches, at their current size, do best along my spine, especially up high. They're less likely to get peeled up or moved, the higher and more centered they are. It's next to impossible to place it there yourself. I haven't tried at the risk of wasting a patch. My mom thought it was best on my abdomen, since that's where the pain is, but it's not. It was covered with tape by the second day.

Luckily, she agreed to do it. Though I probably weirded her out, it had to be done.

She did a great job, placing it directly above the last sight, which was a bright red, irritated square. (Sweat is the enemy, plus I rode my bike the day before.)

But it didn't stay. I walked and sweated Friday, I rode my bike and sweated Saturday, and Sunday I woke up and tape fell off. (It had to be taped Saturday.) It was off by 2. I got up, and walked into the kitchen, and it fell off.

However, I didn't have any pain in the next 6-7 hours. That's great, I can probably be weaned off next time I see the doctor! (I saw him Tuesday and said no, let's keep everything where it is.)

Back to orientation. I won free speakers for asking a lot of questions during the morning lectures, including one on the IT department. I asked so many (and sat in the front row) that another person in the department offered me a job there in the fall if I wanted it. That was cool. I felt bold after the whole patch thing.

My mom also asked a lot of questions. She was a bitch, because very few parents questioned anything. When she was told Friday morning (we wee froshies were at the career thing) that we had to pay $200 when we registered, she was pissed. It was not on the schedule or any of the information we'd been given the day before or that came in the mail.

She told the speaker that she would get me and leave if we had to pay $200 to register. Luckily, this other woman talked to her and got my name. I saw her at registration and she told me to tell my mom it was taken care of.

Registration was the last thing we had to do before we could leave, and it was so scary. I'm taking 3 honors courses - English, Acad, and a required Honors course. I'm also taking the first math listed on the math sheet and French 1, or whatever the numbers are.

I think I have only one class on Friday. And I'm done by 2 at the latest, and 8 at the earliest.

It's going to be so cool.

Thursday morning, when somebody was discussing scheduling your time, making sure you have time for your classes and studies, blah blah blah, I started crying. Luckily, this was before I sat up front.

I think I cried because I was scared, I was strongly reminded of the psych ward by a number of things, and hey, I am coming off the Lupron, and that puts you in artificial menopause. Last Tuesday, I also started crying. It was so bad Lois took me home early from the Crisis Center.

Some of the things that reminded me of the psych ward - the isolation, the helicopter pad in front of Richardson, the starkness of our rooms, and the feeling that if something goes wrong, it's your fault.

All completely stupid.

One cool thing later on Thursday, was when we split up to go to our colleges (Arts and Sciences, Business, Nursing, etc.) and then our majors. I was the only foreign language major, so I got one-on-one time with the advisor (he was the Spanish advisor, I'll have a different one when school starts), while most everybody had to make appointments for later in the day.

I am all over the map here.

I bought 2 books with mom's money. One is the required reading for all freshmen. (We all have to take the same Gen Ed courses.) That was Thursday morning, and it's speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr. Friday afternoon I bought a Rolling Stone with Johnny Depp and Keith Richards on the cover at the bookstore - before signing up to preorder my books. That was from my lunch money, but since it was provided at registration, Johnny will have to do.

As for transportation, they only talked about cars with the parents, naturally. Basically, if you plan to live on campus, a car is a liability, not an asset. Which is different from what the students from more rural areas are used to. Or even here, there's nothing to do within walking or biking distance besides the library or nothing. (You seriously want to hang out at Wal-Mart?)

I'm glad, it means I don't have to learn to drive yet. Ha!

Things they should have done:
  • Provided more infortmation on the schedules. Like the fact that lunch was provided Friday or the $200 registration fee!
  • Offered transportation to the rec center for Thursday's party.
  • Told the students and parents the same things, or let us attend more seminars together. Especially the one about the costs, since some students didn't have a parent with them, how will they know everything they need to know as soon as possible?
  • For an extra fee, let us stay with current students who are in a double for the summer but have no roommate. That way we can see what a room can look like and we can hear the unvarnished truth.
  • Hold it in winter!
See you at Frosh Camp!

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