I am by no means an expert on the ins and outs of college life. I do not consider myself a connoisseur of campus life or a maven of mapping or a notable figure of the nightlife. But I am an expert in one thing, and that is explaining the emotional and physical toll the first week of college can do to a person who is resistant to change. But before I get into it, let me do what I do best and expel some cliches that the media had taught us about the first week of college, and every other week of college henceforth, in the best way I know how, with words. You will never see your high school friends at such a big campus. Wrong, I see Ryan and Brad every day despite them being a five minute walk through the woods, 10 minutes not through the woods, from my room. I see Jack and Joey and Hayden and plenty of others on a regular basis and even people who I had never seen at Lambert introduce themselves to me as someone who went to Lambert. There is a funny thing about college; you'll only run into the people you really don't want to or don't think you will. The classes are nothing like high school. Bogus. It is exactly the same. A teacher will teach, a student will learn. The model is not broken, so no one has tried to fix it. Everyone is always drunk. Not "everyone." A lot of people, yes. In fact I have made friendliness with a guy that has already been arrested on public drunkenness and underage possession, but more on that later. You will bump into your soul mate randomly on the street while walking to a class. As far as I know, that has yet to happen, but you never know. Trust me, I have made acquaintance with more ladies than go to Georgia Tech in my brief time here and of the three that understand sarcasm (Seriously, this is my least favorite part about college. It seems that no one understands sarcasm at all. The worst are the girls across the hall from me. You can tell that they are smart, but they skated by on something other than that because every joke I tell they think I am either unstable mentally or mentally retarded. And of the few people that do get it, they all say, mostly girls because it'd be weird for a guy to say, that I am a sassy-pants. I take it as a term of endearment, like a pet name, but seriously how hard is sarcasm? Where are we Canada?)very well each may be the one. But now that I got all of that off of my chest, lets get to the main attraction: the first edition of Tales of an Awkward College Student!
Tales of an Awkward College Student
Move in day was August 8. It had always been August 8. No part of me would allow myself to not move in on August 8. I will always be a creature of habit and a rule follower, so August 8 it would have been, was, and always will be. Not even the last action my bathroom saw being my small intestines being puked out at 2:30 the night before discouraged me. Leaving my house sucked. I'll admit. I cried like a baby watching Rudy and chopping onions hugging my sister goodbye, but that was mostly cause she was crying and I have a soft spot for my sister crying. It tears me up. But I was off. I took my lumps (and plenty of pepto-bismol) and I was off to a new life in Athens. And a mere 9 hours after I arrived, my parents had left. No joke, nine flipping hours. Learn to let go why don't you? So I was finally a free man. I was unencumbered by the previous inhibitions in my life. In other words, I could do whatever the crap I wanted to do. And that night I wanted to meet people. But no one else moved in on the first night it seemed. Everyone who had moved in on my hall save seven or eight had been rushing and were lights out at 10. But at about 11, a guy on my hall started baking cookies. Reread that sentence. And he said that we could only share in those cookies if we chose a movie to watch as a hall. Reread that sentence. And an hour later when the cookies were finished we landed on The Dark Knight. Which meant we would have finished at 2:30. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHGHGHHHHHHH! Not 2:30. For me two thirty is puke o'clock. But those cookies were delightful! So I dealt hard and in the morning when I woke up I felt fine. College was off to a good start.
The first morning waking up in a new place seems like it could be scary. But it was like waking up in Wonderland after falling through the hole in the ground. It was an uncharted area just begging to be mapped out. And mapped out it became. After finding out what channels ESPN, NFL Network, TBS, FX, Peachtree, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Comedy Central, and HBO were, a literal mapping out, we were surprised by a knock on our door. Two guys were outside when we answered. One was blonder and wearing a blue sleeveless shirt and the other had a scraggly blonde beard and long blonde hair. They said they were from Phi Slam and they were inviting us to play flag football with them at three o'clock. Naturally we accepted and we found a bus and made our way to the intramural fields to play us some flag football. We were greeted by plenty of faces, some familiar, most foreign. There was the first time I saw Wazzy on campus, and boy did it feel good to talk to someone other than Mikey. A relic from home was just what I needed. And he introduced me to his neighbor RJ from New York. RJ is pretty cool, and we talked for a good bit, because that is all you can do whilst it is thunderstorming and you are in a vacated parking deck. Needless to say, an outdoor event was not in the horizon. But an indoor event was, and we as a group of 100 or more guys trekked to the Ramsey Athletic Center for some healthy competiton of the dodging variety. That's right. Fifty on fifty dodgeball bitches! The first game I was knocked out early by none other than Ryan Waznik. I was angry, and I channeled that in the next game. I ran up to the line, put all my power into a throw and drilled a goofy lanky kid so hard in the face that future generations will refer to him as drilled-so-hard. The game stopped for a moment. All was silent. And then there was massive cheering. I was liked by everyone, except for the kid I drilled of course. He didn't like it too much. After that we played five or six more games and they became really competitive. Things got more dangerous than a fire in a nursing home. But afterwards all calmed down and Ryan tricked me into working out and I was in pain for days. That was a good day. I made friends, I got to be competitive, I saw some old friends, I ate a shit ton. (I probably won't go into too much detail about my eating habits, as that needs its own 12 page note. My goodness, the eatery next door to my dorm has a burger joint, an omelet station, the most chicken I have ever seen, a place that operates like a Qdoba or Moe's, and a freaking Asian Stir-Fry station. It is unbelievable. I have eaten like a king every day. And I forgot to mention they have the best sandwiches. I feel like Joey Tribbiani. I have two or three sandwiches a day!) But the next day was really the best day of the week, and a tough one to top for the year.
We heard that Phi Slam was playing flag football again the next day. Let me articulate a little bit what Phi Slam is. They are in effect a dry fraternity that puts on a party once a week and promotes fun through camaraderie and Jesus. Needless to say, Connor is a member. But, I would join too at this point if they keep playing flag football and dogdeball every day. I awoke that morning at 9:30 to the sound of my alarm and people moving in the suite next door. My new roommates had finally arrived! I was so happy! But it as only one of them. His name is Jeremiah. And in meeting him I felt like Ben Stiller meeting Richard Ayoade in the watch. That is all I will say about that. But he is very similar to Mikey and I. In fact he is a fan of the Eagles and the Rays just like Mikey. There are two of them now. I hate it so much, they won't shut up about Michael Vick this and David Price that and Evan Longoria this and Desean Jackson that. It is infuriating. So we invited Jeremiah to flag football that day but he didn't come. No bother, we went without him and were divided into teams. I was not on a team with Ryan or Brad or Mikey or RJ or any of the kids from Vidalia, Georgia I had become close with through orientation. I had to make new friends. And nothing makes you new friends better than throwing 4 touchdown passes, getting 6 sacks, three on four plays, and defensing three balls. In other words, I was a stud. I played better than everyone on my team except the former UGA football player who blew out his shoulder and couldn't play anymore. I had become accepted, and I liked that. Nothing had gone wrong for me so far. And I liked it that way. Three days and there was nothing but blissful collegeness. But that night was the one I won't soon forget.
Phi Slam was putting on its first party of the year; a pig roast with more people invited then graduated from our high school class times three and almost all of them showing up. It was so packed that riding with Connor there took 10 minutes to get there and fifteen to find parking. I met his friends, and thank goodness they understood sarcasm. We had a five minute sarcastic conversation about collecting tote bags from Jos. A. Bank. I enjoyed that. But as we arrived to the 1500 person party, all else became an afterthought. I met more people that night than I ever expected to in a year of college. I met all of Mikey's central friends and they booed me for attending Lambert. I met people from every dorm and every major and answered the same questions over and over. I told people where I was from, what dorm I lived in, what my major was, who my roommate was, whether or not we knew each other before hand, if I was having fun, if I was a freshman, and the monotony didn't kill me. I'd say a highlight of the night was when we, Mike, Wazzy, Wazzy's friend Nick, and I decided to meet new people of the female variety and came across Macey from our high school and her roommate. She was loud, obnoxious, and in summation, everything I am and we had what amounted to a competition to see who was louder and more rambunctious than the other. Coming out of that party, people told me I should date her, but I shrugged it off because, as you know, I'm still me. We also met Frank, a junior who's brother founded Phi Slam and loved giving bountiful volumes of advice to freshmen. I also met Bill, the guy who knocked on my door the day before in the sleeveless shirt and actually ended up being really cool and remembering my name. For most, their first college party would be a blur, but for me I remember every moment vividly. We headed back to Ryan's dorm after the party and hung out until 1:30. I was out until practically two in the morning meeting new people! That doesn't sound like me. I don't party until the crack of dawn. I don't meet new people. I don't have fun. I don't even believe it was me and I wouldn't either if I was you. It seems like some Usual Suspects shit where I'm just looking around the room and telling you stuff I see. But I assure you it is all true.
The next few days were lower key as we settled into the monotony. All the questions I didn't mind answering became infuriating. All the people on my hall that I had longed to meet I learned to dread shaking their hands. The hall filled out as followed. Jeremiah's roommate is Ben, who is cool but doesn't really socialize much. On the other side of us are Brad and Kevin, who are very informed about music, movies, and television but at times can get a little bit nerdy, which I like. Next to them is Morgan, a guy who is the living and breathing definition of a hipster down to the point that he says he's not a hipster he is a non conformist. There is a guy down the hall named Landon who is a huge sports fan and his TV allows him to watch every channel but ESPN. A kid named Matt a few doors down absolutely loves baseball and we had a long chat about that for a few hours and he is also a huge fan of Paper Mario, which was a delight to Mikey. A trio of girls down the hall are very talkative and inclusive, so we have spoken to them on many occasions, Mikey even being their escort home from a shared 6:30 class. Every one on our hall has popped in, because or door is always propped open and everyone has played either Double Dash or Super Smash Melee with us at one point. We have a good hall, but it is quiet. And as good as that is for a sleep schedule, it is no good for a social schedule.
School began on Monday not with a bang but with a whimper. My first class wasn't until 11:15 but Mikey woke me up at 8:30 when he was getting ready. So I watched TV. It is hard to believe, but I have so much down time that I have watched 6 episodes of the Fresh Prince, 8 episodes of According to Jim, 3 of Everybody Loves Raymond, 4 preseason football games, and more ESPN than physically conceivable. My first class lasted only 15 minutes because my prof lost his notes. My second was a mythology class and it was awesome and I am such a nerd. My next class was french and that blew. My class after that was geography and that blew. That was my first few days of class. In between I played a lot of ping pong in the basement with some kids from my building, one of which knows so freaking much about baseball and I talk to him about it non-stop. Wednesday I went to the honors seminar I told you about with the drunkards. Class is monotonous. Class is the main reason we're here, but not the main attraction. There are so many people to meet, so many things to do, class just gets lost in the shuffle. That doesn't mean I haven't focused on class. I have been at least ten minutes early to every class and talked people's ears off in almost every one of them. I have competed with Mikey a thousand times and have gone 0-1000 in the record books. But I don't need to win to have fun. Case in point was last night and the story you may have sifted through this long winded story to get to. Two parties, one guy!
Phi Slam put on another party last night. I was excited. I enjoyed the Phi Slam party a lot last week and was anxious to meet some new people and see some others I had already met. It was not the same party. There was much less talking and much more raving. I've told you that I have changed a little bit, but I can tell you I haven't changed this much. I still did not enjoy my short three minutes in the middle of the 500 person scrum of heat and HIV sweat all up on my body. I was being tortured. Loud music, loud people, grinding, jumping, moving around, more loud people. All of this is defined as things that I hate. I was more miserable than Stern at a baptist revival. I strove to be out of their quicker than Ryan Lochte wanted to get out of London. (Don't get me started on Ryan Lochte. He makes me wish for Apollo Ohno.) It made me rethink everything I had thought about Phi Slam. I was sweaty and uncomfortable and I was frowning. Raves are not my thing. But after the party ended at eleven, we decided to hit up Dawgs After Dark, a school sponsored party that was the shit. There was rock climbing, and bungee jumping and balloon animals and food and the main event: Casino Night. We got there at 11:30 and played nothing but Texas Hold'em until 1:30. We both started with 200 chips and I finished with 1700 and Mikey finished with 3200. We straight up dominated, but had very different styles of play. Mikey was stoic and emotionless. He was a machine of poker excellence. He didn't move, he didn't smile, and he didn't over-bet. I played like you imagine Will in the Fresh Prince would. I sang. I danced. I chatted with the dealer. I coerced smiles out of everyone. I bet on almost every hand and got everyone else to have a little more fun. I was charismatic and fun and everyone that I saw viewed me as either a fun ass person or someone who was really drunk. I was in fact just a fun ass person. And that night didn't end until 2:30 or 3:00. That is my story. My true story. My believe it or not college is getting to me story. My I miss you guys but I am fine with being without you for now because this combination of elation and boredom is great for me story. And more stories will come later. Signing off.