I Moved Into My Dorm and Moved out 11 Days Later

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Wednesday: Five Days Post Move-In

Does anyone else feel like college is actually super hard, but not in the ways you expected? The actual school part comes easy enough. You need to get into a routine, figure out where to eat and find a group of friends that you actually like. Those parts presented a struggle I didn’t expect.

I feel like the last couple of days I can’t get anything right.

It’s a constant battle with everything. First it’s taking your shower caddy into the communal bathrooms and not knowing where to put it. Then it’s attempting to not flash the entire floor while juggling your towel and robe at the same time. And finally you gag at the mere thought of shaving your legs in a foot-by-foot shower stall and accidentally hitting your butt against the hair-covered wall.

Basically taking a shower becomes an ongoing internal debate. It appears as difficult as performing open heart surgery.

Then you move on to feeding yourself. With all these options, how could a girl possibly choose between crispy chicken tenders, Chinese, grilled stickies ice cream and Fettuccine Alfredo? All these foods literally sit five feet from one another. The time of choosing and planning where to go out and eat in advance is over. Every food ever known to humankind waits at your fingertips.

Along with the struggle of your legs and not gaining seven thousand pounds, I also never know where I am going, ever. With a campus as enormous as Pennsylvania State University, attempting the walk without looking at your phone seems nearly impossible.

So you end up pretending you’re texting. But everyone already knowing that you’re on Google Maps trying to walk far enough for your phone to calibrate which direction you need to go.

Another struggle: I don’t know what I should do with my spare time. I dreamed that the girls on my floor would become some of my best friends for life. Instead I only say hi to them in the bathroom and complain about bed bugs outbreaks. And the boys that won’t stop playing video games.

With so much freedom, at some points throughout the first couple days you just sit on your bed wondering what to do. It’s not that there is a lack of things to do, it’s the opposite. Campus throws so many options at you that picking one seems near impossible.

It’s not the first couple days that are hard, it’s the fourth or fifth day, when school actually starts. Homework, assignments, involvement fairs and everything else hit you like a massive Route 66 truck.

Friday: 11 Days Post Move-In

For years, my friends and family said I was made for college and would thrive. That idea crept into my head as we pulled up with my bright red laundry cart full of my belongings to my crappy dorm built in the 60s. My room looked like a cinder block hell on earth.

Yes, now it looks like it came out of a catalog (my mother is a fabulous decorator). But not only is there construction outside of every single one of my windows, dust also coats the decorations and decor that I fell in love with.

Photo by Claire O’Shea

This dust isn’t house dust. It’s cinder block dust. Every day from 8 a.m.to 7 p.m. construction workers throw cinder blocks off numerous stories of an old dorm into a dumpster five feet from my window. Yes you heard me, five feet.

I have only lived here for a little over a week and my adorable turquoise vacuum is filled to the brim with dust. “Shut the windows,” you might suggest. Screaming in response I would answer, “THERE IS NO AC.” That’s right, no AC. Not only do we live in a cinder block hell, we do it without air conditioning.

BUT, and I emphasize but for a reason, college is insane. It is one of the coolest experiences. You’re an adult and treated as one. Going out on a Tuesday night isn’t frowned upon. You can pick where you want to eat, if you want to get in the shower or not and who you want to make friends with.

Since you get to pick all those new friends, for once you can act selfishly about who you choose to surround yourself with every day.

My roommate is super nice and extremely easy to get along with. But sometimes you need something more to get that “Rory and Lane” moment. Our personalities are so different that it feels like I am continuously giving an interview, or trying to say the right thing or give the right opinion to avoid freaking her out.

With the dust and maybe a touch of regret choosing to go random on a roommate knowing that my loud, chaotic personality is an acquired taste, I asked to move to another dorm.

And I feel excited. I feel like I am going to pick up the keys to my first house, start over with fresh sheets and a new roommate that I know can handle my procrastination and sporadic dance parties. She might even enjoy it.

Moving in and then recreating a dorm room across campus takes an army. Luckily I’m up for the challenge despite secretly wanting my younger sister and mom to come back to Happy Valley for their ever-valuable assistance and advice.

I’m ecstatic and I want to assure my fellow college squad that the hurdles you will face, as cheesy as it sounds, are totally worth it. Making decisions for yourself and acting selfish at first feels terrifying. But after a while it’s near liberating.

It’s okay to change your mind and start something new… even if it is 11 days after you moved into college.

Claire is a freshman studying journalism at Pennsylvania State University. She adores the football season, sappy country love songs and cherry coke!

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