The first day of school always seems important. You were going to see old friends, share your summer stories, show off your new outfit, see all the new students, go to all new classes. It is almost like a new start. Today I did not care about the outfit I was wearing, I did not want to be noticed like I used to, I wanted to be comfortable, in my element, be me. That is true comfort and self security. I tossed on my favorite jeans, a tee shirt and some flip-flops and out the door fashionably late as always. Today was the first time I drove from Truckee to school. I knew that I needed to have a cup of coffee and since it was the first day of school I could be a few minutes late. I jetted into Truckee bagel and filled up a large cup of Sumatra for a $1.75...okay, now my school year could officially begin.
I headed on to the on ramp of 80, east bound...to bad I wouldn't actually be going a few thousand miles east; today I would only be going 30 miles down the road. It was like reverse from what I have been used to for the last four years of my life. As I got down into the canyon, I realized there was road construction. Oh well, I'll be fine. The drive down reminded me of the semester that I took at Western State College in Gunnison, CO. That drive in the morning was awesome, a great way to wake up and get yourself thinking. When I reached my exit for school I had just missed the light. The cars lined up behind me, they were too probably returning students to the university. Nothing has changed. The sororities are covered in "welcome" signs, my old apartment still looks the same, bums still walk the streets. Reno is still Reno. I turned down 10th street, the one that I turned down many times a day all last year...drove passed my old drive way and dipped down into the only public parking that is around campus...right in between two grave yards, lovely. I parked and pulled my townie out of the car. I could already feel the dry Reno heat beating down on my shoulder. I was in for a long day of hot weather. Other students filled up the parking lot, many of them had a coffee mug in hand too; looking barely awake, or terribly hungover from the previous night of reuniting with their friends probably. There was no one I knew around, I enjoyed the peaceful two block ride to school alone, being extra careful not to spill my coffee before I had the pleasure of having the first sip of the day. I rode through crowds of new students. There they talked to others about how their first class was, or how they saw the boy from the other night, or complaining about how heavy the books are. I smirked, remembering the days I probably spent doing the same thing 5 years ago if I was not on the phone with my mom telling her how much I couldn't deal living in Reno. I remember how excited I was to be rushing, and playing dress up all the time, and partying without any rules, and all the goodies that come with being a freshman in college. Well, now it has been 5 years. Obviously you change a lot over those years. It amazes me to think back to those days. I rolled cautiously to my first class making sure I didn't hit any oblivious people and to see if any of my old friends might be slyly making their way around school too. No one. First class, English 321 in Fransen Humanities. The same building that I have had at least one class in since I was a first year. Never this classroom though. Maybe the teacher won't show, I tried to convince myself that I could have possibly came down a little later and forced myself to sleep in. I must have jinxed myself because just then an older lady by the name of Elizabeth Francis strolled in, manila folders exploding out of her hands. I can only imagine what she will be looking like at the end of the term, perhaps she will have one of those little buggies that some teachers tote behind them...weird. Class flew by, it has been at least two years since I had a 50 minute class; normally I am in 1 hour + classes. Syllabus's were handed out, just another normal first day in school. Then next class was all the way across campus. Luckily, the cup of coffee that I managed to chug during the last intro class was starting to kick in, I felt like a million bucks. I thought WOW only 264 days until I will be in a cap and gown walking across the quad getting the diploma which was not foreseen by many people when I graduated from high school. Now look, I am one of the ONLY students in my graduating class that is still enrolled and actually graduating in due time from college and looking at furthering my education even more. My second class was held in a building called the Edmond J. Cain Hall, or ejch. It looks like a giant cake, or something aliens planets on our campus. It is the most confusing building an architect could have produced, shame on the people that thought this was a good lay out. No matter who you are, or how long you have been at UNR you are bound to get lost every time you walk through one of the 12 front doors which will magically put you on the floor you most likely didn't want to end up on. The building is almost like something out of Harry Potter. After looking at two different maps I kind of figured out where my class was. Normally, when you are lost in another building you can just look around and find another kid that looks lost and most likely you are headed in the same direction; not in ejch...everyone including the teachers wonder around looking like lost puppies. I found it. Opened the door and was delighted to see that I would be sitting through an entire semester in a class without windows, perhaps you should picture a protection bunker of some type, and well, that's the class room right there...okay, now fill it with 30 or so desks turn the A/C on full blast to even an Eskimo would get chicken skin and that is EJCH 251. The class I was there for was English 345, another class about minorities in the U.S. and it just so happens that it is taught by the teacher that I have been taking a year old class from all summer, on essentially the SAME subject. Because of this I shoved myself secretly into a back corner trying to not look obvious, but knowing he was probably able to easily pick me out. He went through roll and sure enough, no question about it, he found me. Zitkala Sa, Malcolm X, please teachers...do you ever think about switching your material? I have already read these books about 4 ga-zillion times. Okay, only 50 minutes...I can get through the embarrassment of the teacher already knowing me. Why is this such a big deal? Mr. Calabrese quickly put on his back pack and was out of the class room faster than any of us once he dismissed us....hummmmm someone is anxious. ha. No it should be fun, he hails from Truckee as well...so no sick or missed class days when the snow starts to come I guess. Shucks! Being is his class reminded me that I needed to get a start on a 5 page essay that I need to turn in sometime soon to him. I had an hour long break, perfect time to ride around campus, go find out how much my books are going to cost and chat with friends. It didn't take me long to find my great friend Marcus we strolled up to the parking garage that I used to park in 2 years ago. It reminded me of how almost every morning that I had class I would be accompanied by Marcus down to my first class and we would talk about the previous night if he had not been over at the house with all of us girls watching Nip/Tuck or being part of the "Mookah" shin-digs or family dinners. Wow, that seems like forever ago. 3 years. I lived in what could have been considered a "multiculturalism" of sorority sisters house... 2 pi beta phi's, 1 theta, and 1 delta gamma. We basically had all the sororities on campus living under one roof. ha! That house was full of estrogen, but, man did we have good times. Most of those girls graduated last spring, they have all moved, but, occasionally I get funny facebook messages from them or random texts, always having to do with old tunes or needing a recipe. Marcus grabbed his wallet and we headed to the bookstore so he could get two accounting books which ran him $400. Wow, thank god I am not an accounting major! I bid him adieu only to quickly find my roommate Erickson sitting on a bench people watching outside the library. We never see each other because we have opposite schedules, so I hung out and people watched for a while. I have been friends with his younger brother for ages, and now I am roommates with him...funny how that works out. Another friend came up and said "what up" ohhhhh non-standard English, ha ha ha! Gosh, if I would have stood around there all day then I probably could have seen hundreds of people that I had met over the years. I found Erica and Drew walking to class. Drew and I talked about how hot and yucky Reno is (she is from Incline) and Erica was totally caught up in being sororitied out on her phone, saying hello to everyone. I used to be like that. Drew and I just laughed. We all went our ways, and then I ran into a girl that skis, and my roommates brother! These are true friends. Friends that I still have year after year. We all have one common ground and it is winter time loving. I am so lucky to have found these people and formed relationships with them. When I think about the semester I spent in the sorority I know I wasn't myself, and I know that most of those girls were fake. I am me, and that is who I should be. I had to head back to the ejch building for my final class of the day: Biology 100. Yep, 1o0 level class. How on earth did I get stuck in this. I went in through the cake building knowing that I could find this class room with no problem only because it was the giant lecture hall that housed 300+ seats, where the teacher is on a microphone and no matter who you are or what your major is when you were a freshmen you had a class in this room. Ugh, I was about to be surrounded by freshmen. I used to be one, I am sure that 4th and 5th years thought the same of my class when we entered the University back in 2005. A great friend of mine said 2 years age (and it always is mentioned at the start of every term as a little joke) "you can always tell the 1st years because they look like they are going out to a night club when really they are going to class", I looked around sure enough; his statement is still true this year. The teacher had a blue man group music video playing. Voices echoed in the lecture room. A mixture of coffee and sweat gave off to strong of an odor. You could hear people settling into the plastic seats around, gggeezzzeee these seats are uncomfortable. Last time I had a science class in this room I normally didn't bother staying because the teacher rambled on about her power point slides. I soon figured out that this class would be no different when the teacher mentioned the need of the dreaded "clicker". A clicker is a $50 handheld device that never works but supposedly takes attendance, if you have a darning teacher they normally make you take your tests on this personal handheld machines because they are to lazy to grade a paper test...but with my past experience the clicker never works and so you have to do the test on paper as well. yah, sorry teachers that is a waste of my time and yours too. When the teacher also started to explain what a "syllabus" was I knew this was going to be a long semester, a great class to get other homework done in. Okay, so yah learning about ecology might end up being sort of cool. This is potentially the LAST science class I will EVER have to take. The good thing about 100 level teachers is they know when the students are getting restless, and well, for freshmen that doesn't take to long, so she let us out early because nothing was being established. I met up with Casey and we reflected on how we made a decision 5 years ago to move to UNR together. It was between here and MSU, for some reason UNR was the final decision. He was the one that kept me sane all those times that I couldn't take Reno anymore, he comforted me when I was homesick, he listened to my stories about boys, he was always there to let me in the dorms when I would forget my key somewhere, he was the one that made me go down to the DC and eat the food. He was my main support through that rough first semester. I changed a lot while I was at home, as he did by staying at college. Sadly, we grew apart from each other. After the dorms we were neighbors and gave each other rides occasionally, watched ski movies together and then our friendship just randomly faded even more. In the last year we have been able to salvage what we had and have become the "Casey and Bud" show again slowly. It is so nice to have him back as a friend. Casey and I knew each other through ski racing, we spent some eventful seasons together. I never ever thought that one of my best friends in high school would be from Michigan. I used to sit in my room late at night talking on the phone to him before we went to school together, if it was extra late and I knew my mom was asleep I would sit in my laundry basket in my closet and close the doors so she couldn't hear me as much...come on...she probably could, she is a mom. They have super powers and know everything. Casey and I adventured all over Colorado together, Minnesota, and who knows where else. He was the person that termed shoes "pairashots"...it sounds like parachutes, but is really a new pair of shoes. ha! Back around the two blocks to my car. It must have been about 90 degrees. It was hot, a person parked close to my back bumper, but a friend had parked in front of me possibly noticing this and left me room to get out. It felt amazing to turn on the A/C, crank some Notorious and zone out for a little. I soon hit the road and was headed back home. School day # one over. 264 left. Ice cream sure did sound good, no time for that, get to Truckee as quickly as possibly. Paper to write, bed to lay in, food to eat, time to run, sit ups to do. As I got towards the top of the canyon smoke filled the air, it is fire season. The sun sets are beautiful, full of colors, but land and homes are being engulfed in flames, acres and acres being ruined. The temperature still at an all time summer high of 88. Its August. Really? Into the driveway, turn the car off. I am home. Windows open, heat filling the house. Did the boys turn on the heat? Nope. I opened the window and lay down, ahhhh a successful day. Later on after a run and a trip to the store the house if full of creepy cold air. The sun is hiding behind the trees. It was a race to close the windows and have the house naturally heat itself again. Voice of roommates coming and going with smiles and plans of the night being shared. Gosh, I love it here. Turkey meatballs, broccoli and potatoes for dinner. I would say this day is complete. Silence has filled the house except for the tap-tap-tap of my fingers on the keyboard and the faint sound of my music shuffling from song to song to keep me company in my safe place: the kitchen. I have grown up. The little girl that started 1st grade years ago is not here anymore, now I am a somewhat grown person mastering the art and concepts of becoming an adult. Although I would like to be like Peter Pan and live in Never land. Think about your life and how much you've changed. I bet it will amaze you. For all the negative parts of life there there is a sweetness there to make everything better. A learning experience. A way of surprising though who never thought you could do it.