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My First Day of School

August 23, 2010

Okay, so it wasn’t really my first day of school. It was orientation. But it had all the emotional/social anxieties of The First Day of School. Traditionally the first day is about excitement but also insecure questioning: Did I wear the right thing? Overdressed? Underdressed? (Or the classic nightmare: undressed?) Will I find the right room? Will people like me? Maybe many of you don’t struggle with this one, but I’m always worried: will I make it on time? This time in particular I worried: will I remember my Kleenex? I’m still sporting an impressively runny nose.

I think it was a success. Someone I had only just met told me, “I like your shirt!” I found the right room in spite of one well-meaning student’s wrong directions. Everyone was not only courteous but friendly and helpful too. I got my registration worked out and although I unwittingly missed some graduate school events, I made it on time to the department meeting. And I remembered my Kleenex and also managed to punctuate all two hours of policies and procedural information with meaningfully timed sniffs.

The entire atmosphere was boatloads less pretentious than, ah, other experiences I have had. One entering PhD student I spoke with is interested in the same era I am and was thoroughly lovely and nice, and I look forward to getting to know her better. One snippet of our conversation at the reception:

ME: I’m going to run and grab a drink.

SHE: (looking at my drink) What is that?

ME: Ginger ale.

SHE: That’s very moderate of you.

Would that I had been quick enough on my feet to tell her that in this area I am moderate to an extreme.


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One Comment leave one →
  1. Vaughn permalink
    January 17, 2011 10:19 am

    I know. I save my ginger ale escapades for special occasions like trips on Southwest when my wife lets me mix a few sips of her ginger ale with my cranberry juice… whoa, doggy!

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