Essay: One month into freshman year

Laurel Henk



My alarm blares. I awaken, but my eyes stay closed. I contemplate my life. Do I really have to take this class? Is it really necessary?

No. I turn off the alarm without opening my eyes and then promptly fall back asleep. Five minutes go by. My alarm goes off again, louder than the last time. My eyes open this time and I glare at my phone. I turn off my alarm again and roll over, pulling the covers over my head. My alarm blares for a third time. At this point, I think to myself, “If I didn’t have a roommate, this phone would be smashed against the wall.”

I wake up at 6:55 because those extra ten minutes make all the difference to someone who has gone to sleep at 3 a.m. I roll out of bed and fall onto the floor, finally getting used to the beds that are taller than me. I crawl over to my clothes and find something that looks like a pair of pants and a shirt and put them on, hoping that they are not inside out. My roommate, who doesn’t have class for another four hours, is still sleeping, so I keep the room dark. I trudge my way over to the bathroom and get ready for the day.

Before I leave, I make sure that my ID card is definitely in my purse, since I have locked myself out of my room before and it was only by the grace of my kind roommate that I was promptly allowed back in. I then run to the cafeteria for breakfast, because if I don’t have my oatmeal with chocolate chips and brown sugar and a side of my home fries, I will not make it through the day.

But today I don’t have time to eat my home fries, so I compromise. I grab a plastic spoon and jet out of the building and across the lawn. As I run, I ponder over the fact that I am an adult running across a field, eating home fries out of a bowl with a spoon. I think, “Yeah, that’s about it,” and continue on my way.

I hardly get through my first class, then my second, and then my third. I make the trek back to the cafeteria to shovel some food into my mouth before going to Monninger to fit in 30 minutes of homework. That’s before running over to Dreyfuss to get in a couple of stagecraft hours, a fact of life for underclassmen theater majors.

I get asked to bring over a pipe wrench and I bring a vice grip instead. I go back for a second try and bring back some nippers. By the third try, I get the bright idea to look up what a pipe wrench looks like on Google and finally get it right, to John’s relief.

I walk up and down the stairs about 38 times and build five windows before I am released at 5 p.m.

I have 20 minutes to get to the Barn for Fairleigh Dramatics but I cannot find it in myself to rush, so I walk across the campus to my destination and take a seat next to my friends. We interact by making various incomprehensible gestures and sounds at each other until the meeting starts. The Haunted Mansion is coming soon, and we are all going to be a part of it. That is the most important thing at Fairleigh Dickinson for the entire month of October.

I leave the meeting and get dinner with my friends. We end up staying in the cafeteria for two hours because this is the only time that any of us are able to see each other and eat, which is the most important thing to all of us. My friend sits at the table with the new concoction she had created. Some kind of weird salad. We talk about her food as if we are some kind of food critics for a while.

I leave to go to the Monninger Center and resign myself to the four hours that I will inevitably be spending finishing my homework. I’m not wrong.

I get back to my dorm by 12:30, and there are six people in my room, quoting vines and showing each other memes on their phones. We wonder why our suite mates have yet to tell us to lower the volume, and then continue until 1:30, at which point I decide that it’s past this college student’s bed time.

They all leave and I get ready for bed. I finally turn everything off by 2:30 and stare at the dark ceiling. For some reason people are screaming outside of my window. First, I think to myself, “Why? Why are they so loud? It’s 2:30 in the morning.”

And then I remember: oh yeah, this is college.

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