It’s been weird adjusting to life in Austin. I have been practically settled in for nearly two weeks now, and today marked the week anniversary (being a Latin snob, I shouldn’t be using that word) of my first class. So how do I feel? I’m not sure. I’m not elated, which is what I thought I would feel. I don’t feel liberated. I seem to have lost structure or form or something in my transit that would otherwise help me to understand how remarkable it is that I am at college, in a fabulous honors program, on a beautiful campus, in the middle of a town brimming with life and music. First, there’s the immense force of independence bearing down on me. Suddenly, I’m in charge of all of my money, of all of my food, of getting around a brand new town completely on my own. I’ve never been this permanently far from home before, and I don’t have a rhythm yet, some way for me to get around the slightly jarring fact that everything I knew as familiar (and my Sandy-walrus) is three hours and some odd minutes away.
I must also mention the extreme luck with which I avoided breaking my nose playing dodgeball, but still ended up getting blood over everything. THANKS TEAMMATE. THANKS A LOT.
My classes, on the other hand, are brilliant. I’m taking Linguistics 306, Biology 311C (basically a repeat of AP Biology, but I think it will work better for me now), Chemistry 301C (roughly the same, except with AP Chemistry), Calculus 408K (a three semester, rather than two semester, math course. It’s supposed to be at a slower pace, but I still go to class every day. Explain that to me sometime), and English 603A — my World Literature class for Plan II.
Having taken AP classes all throughout high school, I am surprised at how similar they were to actual college classes. The level of discussion, for one, is higher than regular classes, which I appreciate. Certain things are already expected of you in a college class, so it only feels introductory for a week, or maybe two, while people get their bearings. I felt a total immersion into my classes and I have this idea that I might thrive here. It’s a big campus, and my Chemistry class, for example, has at least 250 people in it. But my medium classes, such as Biology, Linguistics, and Calculus, each with around 60 people, feel comfortably close to high school, and although I’ve always hated my math classes, I’m finally learning the foundations here that I wish I had years and years ago. My smallest class, World Literature, has maybe 15 people in it, and although reading The Book of Margery Kempe was never my plan, it’s wonderful being able to read something, however repetitive and egotistical I feel it is, that was written at a time when there were very few true writers. I still desperately want to read a piece of fiction or even a secular autobiography from that era or the Renaissance, but I don’t think such a work exists.
As with all things, I blame Bill O’Reilly.
But I feel as though this slump of waking up, shuffling through papers, reading books, learning songs on my guitar — did I mention that I bought a guitar? It’s a Mitchell MD100 (for the excellent price of $99), but it doesn’t have a name yet. I need suggestions! — is purely temporary, and pretty soon I’ll have something else to occupy the time. We found a kitchen in Carothers (another dorm — I stay in Blanton) today, which means that cookies are on the horizon.
Or if not cookies, I suppose lasagnas, enchiladas. Things that would not have been so appetizing after being baked in the microwave. Feet, I don’t know.