As a member of the prestigious (*snort*) welcome team at my college, I get to move in to my dorm today. Sadly, I wasn’t accepted to the tour-guide position I’d applied for, which – I’ll admit – soured me for a while. Why should I be on our welcoming team, helping new students move into the dorms easily and efficiently, for free, when my school doesn’t want to employ me as one of its representatives?
I gave myself a mental slap around the head and box on the ears, and remembered that the reason I wanted to give guided tours of my school is because I love it and wanted to help others see it in the same light that I saw it in when I first visited my beautiful campus. Sure, loving my school doesn’t mean that everything about it is perfect – our bureaucracy, for instance, is horribly and needlessly complicated and some of the important administrators are really, ahem, not nice (which is putting it very nicely). But the academics and the social life on campus are incredible, and those are the most important things at school, aren’t they?
So as I unpack in my new room today and think about the fact that I might be helping lift boxes in pre-hurricane weather tomorrow, I’ll remind myself that I wanted to do this even before I applied for a paid position, and I’ll remember that when I was a first year I was intensely grateful to this group of kids who got my things into my dorm for me, and I’ll hope that someone remembers me well tomorrow, even if it’s just as a helpful blur above a green t-shirt.
Right now. A moment that doesn’t mean much at all. There aren’t many moments that mean something specific or momentous. But right now I’m feeling. Just feeling something. Listening to the newest album of my very favorite band and savoring every note that goes through the headphones and into my ears. Looking at the little brown and black cardboard notebook in front of me and looking forward to picking up my perfectly-pointed black pen and writing in it, because it says the word “journal” on the front. Feeling the perfect and perfectly strange warm and cold winds flowing through the one open window in my dorm room and feeling that I’m perfectly dressed for both – tank top and long pajama-bottoms.
The music pierces my very core, feels like it’s flowing right into my brain. There is an atmosphere that surrounds me, an unclear one that simply points at a new type of normalcy that I’m not yet used to. The space is still too new for me to feel utterly at home in, but still, my bed in its new sheets and with the new duvet spread on it lies behind me, inviting and warm, a place that feels like my own little den.
There’s absolutely nothing special about this moment. But that’s the point. It’s just now.
It hasn’t sunk in. It doesn’t feel real. It feels like a vacation, not like the beginning of a new life. It feels like a temporary jaunt, not like the prologue to the newest chapter of my life.
The city is enormous and Manhattan is only one small, accessible bit of it, but it’s the only bit I’ll get to know in my few days before moving into my new living space – THE DORM.
Manhattan is an endless stream of humanity, constantly coming and going. It makes me think like The Little Prince – I see the people going one way and then see the people coming back and I wonder: weren’t they happy where they were? Then the inevitable answer: no one is happy where they were. I hope it will be different for me, though.
I wish I were an ant, part of the endless anthill, knowing my place and my responsibility and the way I fit into the grand scheme of things. Instead, I’m simply another conscious human, acting half by instinct and half by intellect, trying to find my way and my place.
It’s a beginning. I’m here.