My First Week at SLC, or, How I Somehow Ended Up In a Pool of 18-Year-Olds as a 21-Year-Old Transfer Student

For a large amount of reasons my first year of college ended with me and my best friend in a car headed for Los Angeles, abandoning everything we knew for impetuous adventure and a need to leave my hometown of Colorado Springs, CO. Seventeen hours later I was twiddling my thumbs supine on a futon, watching the fan overhead, in a studio apartment somewhere in Little Armenia, with no money, food, or plan other than to somehow be successful.

Being at Sarah Lawrence is a hopeful do-over for me. I haven’t been to school in two years. The traditional college experience that is so widely mentioned while growing up was something that I had felt robbed of. So I spent last year travelling and applying to school. And now I’m here. At the end of my first week, I feel like I’ve lived a lifetime and a half.

There is a broken system in place at Sarah Lawrence regarding the treatment of transfer students. I don’t mean to sound negative so quickly, but transfer students should not be required to attend pandering events featuring hypnotists and wild-eyed contentious spokespeople bent on chastising the on-campus smokers at large. It was a frustrating experience. More difficult for me was my inability to find a niche for the first few days. Maybe my expectations were a little high on how quickly I could find where I fit into everything, but it’s tough when you’re sandwiched in the middle of a throng of freshmen already writhing for their first this or that. It caused a questioning of myself and who I was. Here I am in a much different place than when I was eighteen and starting college, but for whatever reason I’m adhering to the cool standards of a younger demographic and pretending to share interests so they’ll like me better. Which is strange. I’m not supposed to give a fuck. But I did.

Nights are blurry, so they fit into the status quo of what college should be like in America. I remember encounters. I remember collarbones. I remember breaths and I remember getting so quickly involved with one junior who exhaled a slurred, “You were supposed to be here two years ago” into my ear while we rocked on a bench in Slonim woods. She left to go abroad Thursday. Go figure. I’ve wrung out my bank account for booze and I’ve danced shirtless in public on multiple occasions with friends who I hope to have for years. I’ve hugged viciously, too. I’ve held hands and I’ve had teary exchanges about home and what I’ve left. And already I nearly lost a friend due to my confident affectation, which I only put up in the first place so that people would damn well remember my name and how I stand.

In the midst of all that noise, it’s easy to get lost and feel lonely. I miss my best friend back home. I miss my ex-girlfriend. I’ve pined for physical affirmation on this campus. It’s what I’m told I’ll have here. Two nights ago I made an ass of myself. All of these choices are severely isolating despite their origin in wanting to have friends. But I know other people hate it too, that is, the overvaluing of a finite lifestyle that usually ends in hospitalization. But I like the way getting bent feels. So I’ll work on that. I’ll work on lots. Mostly though, I feel fucking fantastic. I feel so good. I’ve shaped out a path for myself through it all and have made a good amount of friends. But I’m still scared. At times I feel inferior and antsy. I ask myself if, having been so previously peripatetic, can I perch myself now? Can I stop? Can I still learn? Yeah, I think so.

So what’ll happen this year? I can’t say for sure. More blue room dances. More mistakes. More living to be done. In some ways I’ve had my fill. In most ways I’m still thirsty. I hope everyone’s first week here was as helter-skelter as mine was. If it wasn’t, I’d advise you to get chaotic. It’s good for you.

Chris is a Junior but also old as sin. He writes in confined areas and blares CKY. When not writing, he's lamenting his hot room at the top of Dudley Lawrence. You'll never know if he's crying, because it's just sweat.

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