The Crusader Online

September 20, 2013
Vol. 55 No. 3

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Writer revisits first-year trials

I wouldn't call this culture-shock, so much as I'd call it college-shock. See, I feel like I'm a first-year all over again.
I'm slowly making those types of friendships where I can send a text at any time of the day and carry on a conversation about nothing. The kind of friends who will "help" in the kitchen (i.e. sit at the table and gossip) when I'm doing the dishes my conveniently -- male Irish roommates left all over the counter, and the kind who will take random afternoon trips to the on-campus market in order to buy chocolate. And the kinds who want to travel to the same random places I do -- Iceland, a specific Parisian bookstore, small villages in Ireland that are only famous for being beautiful -- and take hilarious selfies along the way.
It's strange enough to be at a school where it is possible to walk the 15 minutes from my doorstep to the main academic building and see a grand total of zero familiar faces. When I'm at Susquehanna, I can barely leave my door open without a friend or teammate showing up and barging on in. I walk from Benny's to the gym, in a hurry to get to work, and end up 10 minutes late because I knew 10 different people along the way. This is just a whole other proverbial ball game.
What's definitely helping, though, are the various clubs and societies that I'm joining, as well as the wonderfully social runners I've come across on the trails that line the river that cuts through campus. As a member of O-Team last year, I helped preach "JOIN CLUBS TO MAKE FRIENDS" but never fully processed just how important that had already been to my Susquehanna experience. Here, though, it's like I'm one of those nervous, fresh-faced freshmen sitting four rows back in class, just to make sure nobody thinks I'm too eager.
My professors are wonderful so far, though. Plenty of American jokes have already been made at my expense, and one lecturer has outright asked me after class, "On a scale from one to ten, how well can ye understand other students when they're asking questions during class?" I laughed my way through my response of "Three."
Because everyone here is so easygoing, it's not terrifying to strike up conversation with the rugby players who sit behind me in historiography. But at the same time, I can't help but compare this whole "blank page" of a semester to the way I entered Susquehanna.
Sure, it's freshman year all over again. I get lost practically every time I set foot in the main building, but at the same time, one of the janitors is already my friend since he manages to see me stand and stare blankly at signs daily. The hot-chocolate-blender-guy at one of the bars is also well-acquainted with me and an American friend, as is a bartender who always laughs when we order water and pizzas to start our Thursday nights while everyone else is doing tequila shots on empty stomachs. So here's to new friends, cheap flights I can book online and some good craic.

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Writer revisits first-year trials

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