After eight hours of driving, poof, I'm in Pittsburgh.
I was looking up at my favorite building on campus, the Cathedral of Learning, letting everything soak in, and then a car horn and the sound of police officers telling angsty parents that, no, they cannot park in front of a bus in an active bus lane, filled my ears.
Let's just say that the move-in process was not the most glamorous of times. And sandals were definitely not the right choice to wear to help push a blue move-in card full of bins, clothes and blankets through the parking lot, in the elevator and around the floor.
Overwhelming seems like the appropriate word to use to describe what it all felt like. Luckily for me, I sort of condensed my experience with a two-in-one: Move-in and PittStart orientation were at the same time, and it was also the freshman welcome week.
Setting up my room was like guessing at a puzzle: We were pretty sure that there was a way to put it together that was the best way, but we weren't really sure what that was. We had about two and a half hours to put everything together before needing to leave, regardless of if we finished or not, to attend PittStart at 10:15.
Thus began the infamous sessions about how I chose the right school, and how great this school is, and while the food part of the presentation piqued my interest, I already had my reasons for picking Pitt.
Then came the on-campus lunch with your family, which was really fun minus the hiking part to get to upper campus. After that, it was more sessions and then dinner and then it was bonding time. I'm convinced that bonding in college really means going to an event where you can either win free stuff, eat free stuff or do fun stuff for free.
I saw Beauty and the Beast and then went into a peaceful slumber in my dorm room. The next thing I knew, I had a presentation about college and grades and how to do well. The line about "if you think you can study the night before and pass, you're wrong" was the key phrase here.
And then it was goodbye. My parents left, and although they had their sunglasses ready for when they cried, I realized that I was sad too. No more family dinners or shows on the family room couch, but I held it together because I had faith that this was the right step for me. Then it was back to the grind again.
Needless to say, my first three days on campus have seemed like a whirlwind of emotions. Stress at move in, stress at academic success sessions, sadness when my parents left, excitement for being at a place I love near a city, nervousness about making friends, excitement about making friends, tired because of all those darn sessions and readiness to begin this experience and be in the thick of it.
Welcome week is chock-full of fun activities for freshmen (much love for the ice cream social), but the hardest part is knowing if you will really ever see the people you talked to again because you're in different schools, dorms and activities.
I am still waiting for the dust to settle on this experience, but I am so excited to see what's next. My advice: Be you. It works like a charm. (I do not know if I can actually say that since I am still in the process of making friends, but no one seems to be scared by me, so I assume I'm good.)