Random Experiences: Part One

The Stephen King Fan in Union Square

I was sick of staying in my dorm room just because I didn’t know anyone else. So, I decided to take one of my Stephen King books and walk the two blocks to Union Square.

Union Square at night is interesting, to say the least.

I found a whole world full of people in such a small space. Tourists came on and off the subway, a group of young men played soccer, a dozen individuals lit up, and a handful of people played chess on makeshift boards at the corner of the park.

I decided to sit near the chess players. It was a light enough area to read, but far enough away from the action of the soccer players, who were hitting people on the head and making them pretty angry.

After I’d been there for about ten minutes, a man sat down at the board nearest me. He waited for an opponent. I considered playing with him, but let’s be honest. I couldn’t play chess if you paid me. So I continued reading.

Then, I heard a voice say, “Whatcha reading?”

I looked up. It was the man at the chess board.

“Stephen King.”

“Is he your favorite author?”

“Oh, by far.”

“I like him too! Which one is that?”

“Bag of Bones.”

He didn’t say anything, so I went back to reading. A few minutes went by. Then, he spoke again.

“Do you have any other books with you?”

“Huh?”

I looked up from my book, confused.

“Do you have any other books with you?”

“Well, yeah, sure.”

“Here?”

“Oh, no. At my dorm.”

“Oh. Damn.”

He got himself an opponent and I went back to reading.

It was my first conversation with a stranger in the city.

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Move-In Day

It’s a day filled with emotional goodbyes, subway trains, giant bins, and elevators. It’s awkwardly saying hello to your new roommates and waving at the neighbors across the hall. It’s when you realize your expectations for the quality of dorm life were too high.

We got lucky. We arrived at my residence hall early. I got to meet my RA, check in, move all of my things upstairs, and get mostly unpacked by noon. Then my family and I went sightseeing.

As I’m writing this, it’s almost seven o’clock the next day. I’m sitting on my new bed in my pajamas. My feet hurt. I’m not used to big city living. And this much walking? Oh my god.

My thoughts are sporadic now that I’m by myself. Should I get coffee? Take my guitar to Union Square? Go to one of the many clubs offering deals for Welcome Week? Or should I just sit on my computer and write to you guys, lay down, and go to sleep?

Watching my family leave yesterday was probably the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. I walked them to the front of the building on 14th Street and waited at the curb with Mom and Jack until Dad and Katie came with the truck.

All day long, we’d been just fine. I mean, a few tears in the morning from Mom before we left the hotel. But, other than that, we kept it together.

The truck pulled up, Dad and Katie got out, and it all just fell apart.

They were all crying. Jack looked like his heart was broken. My mother wouldn’t even look at me. I couldn’t look at my father. I stood on the curb and watched them drive away until I couldn’t see them anymore. Back to Michigan. Back to their lives.

Then I turned around, walked back into Palladium, and started mine.

It’s hard to remind yourself that college is a good thing when you’re alone and don’t know anyone. Or when you feel like you don’t have anything in common with the people around you.

You just want to go home, curl up with your dogs, play games with your dad, and watch cooking shows. Or go shopping with your mom. Or, pretty much, do any of the things that you can’t do because they aren’t even within a ten-hour radius of you.

I’ve wondered a million times in the last twenty-four hours if I’m doing the right thing. I’ve considered dropping it all and going back home or hiding under my bed in the fetal position.

But I’m stronger than that. Eventually, I’ll remember why I came here in the first place.

I just have to stop being so damn sad first.

One Day More

My family and I left Howell, Michigan around eight o’clock on Friday morning in my grandfather’s pick-up truck, tubs of my belongings packed in the bed.

I thought leaving Howell would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But, to my surprise, it wasn’t so bad.

In fact, for most of the drive, I forgot that I’m not just a girl on a trip. I’m staying, and my family is leaving. That hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m not sure how long it’s going to take.

Like last time, we opted to spend the night in Jersey City before heading to Manhattan. Also like last time, we found ourselves craving pizza upon arrival.

Carmine’s had been so good that we wanted to grab dinner there before going to our hotel. It took two navigation systems and a few roundabouts, but we finally found it.

By that time, it was past ten o’clock, and we were all exhausted and ready to go back to the hotel. Taking stock of our attitude, the cashier informed us that Carmine’s has free delivery.

We ordered the pizza and drove to the Hyatt,  where two workers helped unload everything I own and brought it up to the room.

That was last night.

We wanted to spend today in the city. Mom got tickets for several tour buses, which gave us the opportunity to take three different tours at any point during the day (uptown, downtown, and night).

We caught a glimpse of my dorm on the night line. We discovered a number of useful stores on the same block, including Walgreen’s, Subway, and a few odds and ends.

I’m writing this from our hotel room. Tomorrow is move-in day. I think that’s when it’s really going to sink in. Seeing everything I own somewhere not even close to home.

Wish me luck.

Securing a Federal Work Study

When I first toured NYU, one building stuck out among them all.

Bobst Library.

With more than three million books, this gem is the heart and soul of NYU. Since I was assigned a Federal Work-Study, I knew I needed to work there.

I figured, when I got on campus, I would set out to find a manager and see if there were any open positions. I would soon find out it wasn’t that simple.

NYU has something called the Wasserman Career Center to help students get in contact with local internships and job opportunities. My first order of business was to make an account on the Career Development webpage.

After building a resume, I uploaded samples of my work and started searching for on-campus Federal Work-Study opportunities.

For anyone who doesn’t know, a Federal Work-Study is a part-time job partially funded by the government. It benefits the university by providing affordable labor, and it benefits students who need extra money for bills, living expenses, textbooks, and food.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw six or seven available jobs at the Bobst Library. I applied for three of them.

The next day, I received an email telling me I’d been selected for an interview. I was over-the-moon until I saw the interview sign-up form. I was expected to pick an interview slot and meet with my potential employer the next Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.

I currently live in Howell, Michigan. I don’t move until August 24th.

I sent an email back. I thanked the woman profusely for the opportunity but let her know I would be unable to meet for an interview. After five grueling days, I got a response. I could schedule a phone interview for Tuesday at six o’clock.

The interview could have gone better. I was distracted and nervous. But, to my shock, I received an email about a week later telling me I’d made it to the second round. Essentially, this meant I had the job if my schedule matched up with their openings.

Two days later, I had my schedule in hand.

Am I surprised? Absolutely. Am I excited? More than you know.

Now to figure out this paperwork…