Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pause for School; my first day back

Like most normal American kids, after my first day of school my mom would ask me how my day went. Now that my first day of Graduate School has come and gone, I thought I would share those first few reflective moments with you. 

I woke immediately to my alarm, somewhat disoriented, after having a late night and another (enjoyable) European meal experience. Or atleast, that's what our friends call it when we have them over and actually eat dinner at 11pm. We were lucky to have the Regg visit again and although it wasn't how I planned my first night before school, I wouldn't have changed the way it went down. Plus staying up late is what students do, right? (I hope not.)

I was running on a nice schedule this morning, having planned to leave at 7:30am to get to school, park, and walk in plenty of time before my 8am class. Due to first day jitters, I wasn't quite down for my normal breakfast of oatmeal (which typically quelches my voracious morning hunger). Instead I opted for a nice local peach that MW bought me and some Greek yogurt, topped with Kind granola. It was everything I dreamed of. 

So dreamy I instagrammed it.

I had to rush just slightly to make my lunch, which I planned to bring today for my break between classes. But I successfully took MW some coffee and was ready to go at 7:30am. MW even surprised me by getting up and seeing me out the door. It was sweet.

Parking was miserable. 
In fact, almost all the spots of our "lot" (poorly termed for the strip of random street that we've been assigned to park in, since we were unable to get parking passes at the designated time. Why? Oh because we weren't in the system as students at that time.) were taken!!!

I digress. I trudged up the hill to our building, yawning yet satisfied with my time allotment. I found the student lounge and stashed my lunchbox and walked up to class. I stood outside, alone, at about 7:50am. "Surely I can't be the only person here?" I thought to myself as a random staff member unlocked the door for me. Dismissing the concern, I sat and pulled out my notebook and iPad and waited. 

And waited. Then texted my friend to make sure I wasn't in the wrong place. 
Finally people trickled in. 
And then I realized, class starts at 8:30. 
Better early than late, right?

And so from there, my day progressed but in a more positive path. Tuesdays provide me with lectures in "Therapeutic Interactions" and "Physiological Functions of Occupation" (aka neuroanatomy!).  Between the two I have a 2 hour lunch break, which we utilized to eat in the student lounge and meander on campus to locate important places (the gym, the library, etc). We wandered amidst a small crowd gathered around a DJ outside the student center laying some beats. In simplest terms, my small group and I stood out in a very noticeable way. 

You may not know this but WSSU is a Historically Black College/University. 
To most, as we fumbled around trying to locate our position in space, we were the average student. But to some, we were evidently scrutinized in an unpleasant way.
I certainly don't feel unwelcome or unsafe in anyway. But there's a feeling I have walking around campus that I can't shake. In fact, I feel it more when I am with a group of my peers (who are primarily white, educated, females) than I do when I am walking alone.  This is something I anticipate exploring more as time progresses. 

In any case, here are some snippets from my day, including some highlights:
1. Our morning professor is fascinating and I look forward to her lectures. She said something that stuck with me: 
"You are all here because you were born with something inside you that leads you to serve."

2. On my first day of grad school,  I got to touch a human brain. 

3. I did not pack enough snacks. Lesson learned. 

4. When asked what the most important thing about me was I answered in this way:
"I am hungry. For life, for learning, for relationships... and usually for food."
Yeah, I went there. 

5.  I am excited to be back in academia. It is a different culture and I truly feel that it cultivates within me the motivation to better myself. 

6. The iPad  is the best invention of all time for class. It's light and so easy to take notes on (thanks again, Dad, for the keyboard!!). 

Sorry for the lack of pictures, but I do promise a Summer part II is coming soon! Unless homework slows me down...

But first, I want to thank everyone who encouraged and supported me during the decision to go back to school. I'm very excited to be starting this next phase! 

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