Sunday, September 10, 2006

The First Day of the Rest of My Life (Uni)

Finally, the time had come. Time to say goodbye to everything and everyone I knew to strike out on my own. And I couldn't wait. After 3 summers of busting my balls at the grocery store, I had amassed enough cash to pay for my first year of university tuition and residence without needing to work.

I saw university as a way of starting over. A sorely needed one. After all, the only thing I was known for in high school was being the smart, weird kid. I guess it was better than being the loser, but not by much. I just didn't have a lot in common with the farmers and hockey players that frequented my high school. I didn't fit into their regular mould of people, it was like I wasn't allowed to be an athlete, or popular with the girls, because I was considered "too smart". Never mind that I could have whipped any of the so-called "jocks" on the soccer pitch, the volleyball court, or on the track for that matter, and that I secretly suspect that a lot of the girls liked my quirky sense of humour. It was too late for me at that school, and university was the perfect way for me to really display all the aspects of my personality.

I didn't even try to hide from my parents that I couldn't wait to get out of their house, or that I wouldn't miss them while I was gone. I was on cloud nine for the whole week before leaving. I wasn't even nervous, I was calm and relaxed, but focused. The university was 5 hours away from my hometown, close enough that it was easy to go back and work at the store during holidays and exams, but not close enough for my parents to visit on weekends. Perfect.

So my dad and I load up the van and head off to school. We chatted a bit in the car, but it was hard to really find anything to say. I had purposely not done any research on the residence I would be staying at, because I wanted the sensation of being a fish out of water. And wow, was I ever.

My dad and I pulled up to the residence and registered with the director, who told me my room number and floor, and instructions on how to get there. So up we went. And I walked straight into a scene from Animal House. Since my dad was still there, I tried not to smile too broadly.

I hadn't brought very much stuff, figuring that I would buy what I needed when I got there. So two suitcases, a stereo, my PC and two boxes of odds and ends were about all I brought.

My RA (residence advisor, or "Don") was in the room across the hall getting smashed with the rest of the guys from the floor. I was apparently the first frosh (freshman) arrival on his floor. I could see them sizing me up, so I decided that the new me was going to take the initiative with these people.

"Hi guys, just give me one minute to bring up the rest of my stuff, and I'll be right in."

"Uh, ok, sure, you don't need any help?"

"No, it's ok, there's just a few more armloads. Me and my dad got it."

"Really, that's all you brought?"

"Uhhhh, yeah."

So, after the last load of stuff, my dad looks around...

"So, I guess this is going to be where you're going to live for a while."

"Yeah, I guess so."

"Ok, give us a call when you have your phone set up, ok?"

"Yeah, sure."

And after probably the most awkward hug in human history, my dad leaves, and I stroll into the RA's room.

"Hey guys, here I am!"

"Hey, I just figured out who you are, you're my worker bee frosh!"


"We tried to call you all summer, and you were always working. Didn't you get our messages?"

"No, my parents sort of suck at giving them to me."

"So, I guess you're gonna go get groceries, or stay in a hotel with your dad or something?"

"Nope, I'm here with you guys. I just got away from my parents, why would I want to go hang out with them?"

"Well, some of the uncool kids do that, but I can tell you're not one of them."

"No sir, I'm not."

"So, next you drink beer?"

I had never drank while in school, for no better reason than I didn't have the time. The schedule I kept required me to stay in tip-top shape, and there was no room for hangovers.



"But I never said I wouldn't start..."


The whole day was a blur, helping other people bring their boxes in and doing beer bongs and whiskey shots. I was being accepted by the cool kids, it was great. We went out and played football, and it was great just competing with people and having fun. None of these guys knew me, but they'd accepted me with open arms, which was something I'll never forget. Even when the cooler frosh came onto the floor with his own car and beer for everyone, I still felt really good about my place in the residence. It felt like I was able to sprout wings and fly.

Then, I started noticing other frosh getting hazed. And I was kind of concerned. But my RA pulled me aside...

"Ok dude, here's the deal. This is why we asked all of you to bring old clothes. See, a lot of floors in this rez believe in ritual hazing. We know it sucks, but we all went through it. It's a way of bonding before school starts. But we do it differently on our floor. Here's how it works. Basically, you do everything we ask you to do. If you're not a dick about it, you eat and drink for free all week. No other floors offer that kind of deal."

"That sounds fine with me, I know my role."

"Wow, cool, time to go get changed. And if things get too hairy for you, just kind of pull me aside and let me know."

"Don't worry, they won't. I'm no pussy."

So from then on, we got treated like human salads, human hamburgers, wrapped in saran wrap and rolled down hills, all while being drunk out of our minds. It was the best week of my life. I made so many new friends, and just knew that it would be the place for me. It would surely be a matter of time before I started meeting co-eds and losing my v-card, I just knew it!

Then I get the phone call from my father..."Your mother just left me...what am I supposed to do now?"

People sometimes wonder why I don't particularly give a shit that my mom is dead. I'd say that that phone call had a lot to do with it.


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