Saturday, June 28, 2003
Greetings dear, loyal readers. If you're new here, greetings dear, hopefully-soon-to-be-loyal readers.
I have returned from my sojourn in Michigan. I am now almost unspeakably tired but I will stay awake to blog because that is what I have to do. Also, I don't think I could go to sleep right now. You know how sometimes you're utterly exhausted but you can't go to bed? That's me. Might be the caffeine.
Anyways. Michigan. We left on Tuesday, by aeroplane. We got to use the new terminal E at Logan, which was actually very nice. But bag check in is now done with these computerized thingies at Northwestern, and they don't really work, and no one knows how to use them, so they ended up being more inconvenient than when you just had people checking your bags.
I got my carryon bag hand searched at airport security, because I had accidentally left a pair of scissors in there. I am a filthy catdamned terrorist. My scissors were removed from my possession. I was also travelling with a stuffed lemur in my bag, though, so I don't think they considered me much of a real threat. How many martyr-driven terrorists travel with stuffed lemurs in their bags? (and by 'stuffed lemur' I mean a stuffed animal like a teddy bear, not like a taxidermy sort of thing)
Yup. So. Orientation. As I said before (see previous blog), I took journally notes before bed each night so that I can tell you about it all in great and fascinating detail. I will also use present tense, as though I am there at this very moment. Let the joys of orientation come to life before your very eyes. And such. Erm, this is going to be a long blog, since the past few days have been action-packed, and I still won't be able to post everything that happened herein, but hopefully I can sate your curiosity.
It is incredibly and unbearably hot here. Vurry vurry hot. And sunny. So walking around campus on all these tours is not quite as fun as it might otherwise be. Hope I didn't get sunburned today, that would suck a reasonably large amount. Hot as Hades, it is.
I've yet to meet another art student. I'm not entirely sure why this is. Everyone I've met so far is either in the LSA or the Honors program or the Engineering school. No other art students. I know they've got to be around here somewhere, but I'm at a loss as to how I would find them. Then again, I did just get here.
The dorm room I'm staying in is titchy small. It's in East Quad, which is a goodly sized dorm building with some pretty nice lounges. During the fall, East Quad houses, among other things, the RC (Residential College... if there's one thing I've learned already at this orientation it's that people use abbreviations for every damn thing). Think hippies. But that's just a side note. The room's very small. But I'm pretty sure it's a double which is housing three people for the purposes of orientation, so perhaps that's to be expected. Two of the beds are lofted and one of them looks like it was just wheeled in for orientation. I'm in one of the lofts.
The bathroom, from what I've seen of it, looks just gawdawful. For some reason I refuse to contemplate, there are urinals in the girl's bathroom. There are four showers for all of the girls on this hall, which is definitely not enough. I haven't used one yet, obviously, but I'm not much looking foward to it. The boy's bathroom in this hall is closed because something vital isn't working, so I don't know what on earth they're supposed to be doing.
I've already met some cool people. Everyone here has a midwestern accent! I guess I never really noticed it when I came up here to visit my family, because none of them have it all that strongly. But pretty much everyone at UMich has it hardcore. The girls seem to have it more strongly than the guys, for some reason. I started feeling like I should be talking in a midwestern accent.
Also, when you ask the people from Michigan what town they're from, they hold up their right hand in a mitten shape and point to various parts of it. This was very confusing until I realized that they were using it to represent Michigan. You know. The state's shaped like a mitten. Anyways. Once I got used to that idea, I was only mildly confused since, you know, I haven't the slightest idea where anything in Michigan is.
So, as I said, I've already met some pretty cool people. I met this girl named Amber who's sort of the blonde, earnest, sporty, midwestern girl stereotype. But nice. I met a guy named Henry who strikes me as being very, very smart, and sort of quiet, but also nice. I also met a girl named Adrian who was very funny in a pragmatic, midwestern sort of way. I don't know, maybe you'll be able to see more what I mean if you know a bunch of midwestern folks.
I met a guy who's going to be in the engineering school named Seth, from Dearborn MI. He seems more like an art student than an engineer, which is a good thing. Naturally. And also a Mac fan! You know my thoughts on computers... there is no lord but our Mac, and so on. He also has one of the new iPods! Such as myself. Ah, good times.
I also met this girl named Vanita whose family is Indian, so she looks Indian, but she's British, so she has an impeccable british accent. But she's from Pittsburg. And going to the University of Michigan. When she swears it's in a british accent and it makes me want to start sniggering. She's fun.
My roommates for orientation (I won't know my actual roommate for next year until sometime in August) are of the number two. I'll be in a double in the fall, so only one roommate. Both of these two are from Michigan. One's Erika... I can't really say I know her yet, she's awfully quiet and doesn't seem too keen to offer up information about herself, but I think that this is a quality which I would appreciate in a roommate. She looks like any other suburban, quiety preppy girl would look. The other one is Daphne, this crazy little Chinese girl who doesn't stop talking. She's very smart though, she's in the Honors program, and she took classes at Harvard last summer, so we had conversations about Boston. I certainly don't mind rooming with her for the few days of orientation, since she is fun in a quirky sort of way, but I don't think that my temperament would let me room with her in the long run. Which is just fine, because she's not staying in the same dorm as me in the fall anyways.
We took some placement tests today. The math one was simple, I think I maybe got two wrong out of 25. The chemistry one was an unmitigated disaster, I barely even remember taking chemistry. It kept asking about moles, and all I could think about were the little fuzzy burrowing critters. I don't think I got anything right on that. The french one was actually pretty tough, I think I did sort of middle-of-the-road on that.
i have everything to do with chemistry
We break up into groups when we're going around on tours, and each group has an undergraduate student as their group leader. My group leader, Rob, is... well, I think he's going to be a junior this year. He keeps cracking jokes about being an asocial engineer, but I happen to think he's kind of cute, and he's certainly social enough to be a funny tour guide.
On one of the tours we ended up at this big fountain thing with a just hideous sculpture in the middle. Rob said that it was tradition for new students to wade through the fountain, so he made everyone take off their socks and sneakers and wade through this icy cold water, which came up to my knees. Obviously this isn't tradition, they just wanted to make us wittle froshies walk though the fountain. Despite this, it wasn't bad, since it was such a terribly hot day out. I couldn't put my socks back on, though.
I woke up at 6 this morning to get one of the few showers without having to wait in line. I got one, but it was not fun. There are curtains, not doors, and the curtains don't really stay in place properly. I think I only got three hours of sleep last night. People came into the dorm at around 3 am last night making tons of noise. I couldn't sleep for more than a hour at a time anyways because of the heat, so I kept on waking up. It's now 6:50 am and I feel like 10 miles of bad road.
I'm sleeping in a loft, as I said yesterday, so of course this means that it's like being on a top bunk in a bunk bed. It makes me nervous. I don't trust the ladder, it seems a wee bit rickety. Also, if I sit straight up in bed, I hit my head on the ceiling. The only good things I can say about the bed are that a) the mattress wasn't too bad and b) it was long enough.
We had the most boring speaker ever today. She was an economics teachers, and she gave this hideously long-winded speech, and it was early in the morning. I actually fell asleep during it for a bit. I was sitting between Seth and Vanita. Vanita was sort of gazing at her with unfocused eyes, and I think Seth was falling asleep like me. He was slouched down in his seat, in any event. Not fun times.
We went up to North Campus today (at U of M, Central campus has pretty much everything, South Campus has the football stadium, and North campus has the art school and the engineering school). It was very hot out again, so it wasn't exactly fun to be walking around up there, but the walkways you take to get everywhere up there are really pretty. They're all wooded and forest-y. I'm sure I would appreciate it more if the weather were nicer (i.e. if it was cooler out). Also, the food at the dorm up there (Bursley) was much better than the food they've been feeding us in East Quad.
I met a nice kid named James on the bus ride up to North Campus. He's from Troy, MI and he's in the engineering school. We chatted about Boston schools and about hair coloring and such. The blue streak in my hair seems to be doing me good as a conversation starter. People, especially guys, tend to strike up conversations with me by saying something like "Hey, your hair's really cool..." Hey, what do I care? If it makes 'em start conversations, then gosh golly gee, I've got no objection to it.
After lunch the engineering and art students split up, thus providing me my first glimpse of some of my fellow art students. The issue is that all of the North Campus (i.e. not in LSA or Honors) kids I've become friendly with thus far are engineers, and I don't really know any of the art kids. So I was sort of stranded. But this girl who looks like someone straight out of an anime comic has kind of latched onto me, so I have someone to talk to. Her name is Gigi and she's from California. One of the very few non-Michigan people I've met here.
We have 2:30 to 5pm on North Campus with nothing planned for the art school kids, so I'm sitting in the art school lobby right now in one of the big comfy leather couches they have. I'm reading (I brought Sherlock Holmes with me) and doodling (I took off my shoe and drew it, for lack of anything better to do). Oh, and of course writing all this down. I could go down and check out Pierpoint Commons, which is right across the street from the art school and has McDonald's and things in it, but I'm too damn lazy and this couch is murderously comfortable.
I'm writing this tonight, now. When we finally got back from North Campus, there still wasn't anything planned. I headed over to one of the numerous Starbuck's located on campus. I met up with Seth on the way there, so we sat and chatted for a time. Then we headed back to East Quad because the LSA, Honors, and Engineering kids all had peer advising. But not the art kids, since we had already had it up on North Campus.
So I sat in the lounge for a while doing nothing. I watched some guys playing this Michigan card game called Mafia which they all are obsessed with, but I don't understand at all. Sort of like how we are here with Asshole. I asked the Michigan kids, and none of them know how to play Asshole, so I guess Mafia isn't the only regional card game.
Found out today that I'm going to be in college for five years, right off the bat. I mean, that's before I even begin to contemplate grad school. I've already signed on for five years. It was sort of an immensely depressing idea, five years of college. This is what comes of double-majoring, folks. Damn that intellectual curiosity o'mine.
I tried to work out my schedule today. I can't do it at all, they had better be able to do it tomorrow when I register for classes.
Ugh. There was so much downtime today, they should've just let us register and leave tonight. We wouldn't have to spend another night in this ick-ful dorm, then
Whenever I tell people where I'm from around here always say the same thing, "You're from Boston Then they always ask, "What are you doing up here?" I'm afraid that I don't have an entirely comprehesive answer for them.
Literally fallin asleep at keyboard, will maybe finish this pst as edit tomorrow. So tired.
Good night and the rest of the story tomrrow I promise.