Thursday, September 24, 2009

Off on a Ride

It's been a month since I came to college, and everything's finishing its shift into full gear right about now. Orientation, with its open houses and club fairs, is buried far in the past; the class shopping period ended a week ago, and there are no more excuses for missed assignments or classes. Clubs have been meeting for several weeks now, and paper assignments and problem sets in French, English, and obnoxious linguistics IPA symbols are piling up on my desk. But I love it. No professor will be checking names off an attendance sheet here. My slate is clean, and it's my responsibility to hold myself to the standards others - parents, peers, teachers - might have imposed on me back in high school. I have to launch myself now, and luckily, I think I'm ready for takeoff.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Taking Flight

Pure Wonder by Vain and Vapid.
I've been having a lot of Ballon Rouge moments lately, here at college, being swept up into something great. It's not support or a push upwards from the bottom, but rather a big tug from above, a call to my own special adventure. This swirling optimistic energy just comes barreling through and lifts me along. Whether it's the muted excitement of other teenagers at Fashion Week dreaming of the collections to come and trying not to look starstruck, or the organized chaos of class registration and each class's promise of fascinatingly obscure knowledge, the balloons have descended, and all I can do is hold on tight and begin to fly.

Friday, September 11, 2009

First Days

Going to a woman's college, and one affiliated as it is with a world-class coeducational university, is as Romantic and lovely as I might have imagined. These past two-and-a-half weeks, time has begun to unveil for me the cast of characters of the next act of the Life and Times of Hannah Serena. I have retained some of my happiest memories from these short weeks but, because my camera has sadly been obsolete due to a missing battery charger, I fear that I have lost some other moments in passing and may only retrieve them, with the prompting of some sort of keyword, decades into the future. What I can remember is this:
A dance party at the Central Park Zoo. A toga party at a Columbia fraternity house. A fruit and chocolate crepe on the Low Library steps with all the other denizens of my Barnard dorm. A chance encounter with my old camp friend Jake on the Columbia pavilion. 3 AM delirium with my most favorite floormates under the soft midnight glare of ensconced lighting fixtures. Goofy adult mad-libs. Evening a cappella auditions that lasted for hours. The subway ride home from Magnolia, suspended in chocolate cupcakey bliss, as a new friend's nineteenth birthday faded away.
Mornings filled with French. Afternoons filled with studiousness and banana cake at the campus café. Nights filled with laughter, gossip, giddiness, and popcorn. Sleep filled with wooziness and finally, after all these years, ecstasy. I can't describe it quite - it's this sense of closure, that I'm finally learning what I want to learn, being with the people I deserve to be with and not the petty ones who have always tried to bring me down. I stroll around the halls and hear snippets of Korean, Arabic, Hindi; see colorful clothes tumbling through the neverending cycle of a front-load dryer. Style, sophistication, is everywhere, and confidence fills the air. The confidence is infectious, and all of a sudden I'm beginning to love myself.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Residential Life

One of the most difficult things about college for a visual person like myself is making a dorm room look and feel as pretty and comfortable as a room back home. This is something I'm working on. Though I've collected piles of fashion photographs and obtained a large supply of tape, I don't want to overwhelm my tiny, light-filled space.
Still, there's something so nice about having this space to ourselves ("us," of course, being my roommate and I), as s small as it is; in fact, I find that open spaces can be much more anxiety-inducing than small and intimate ones like these. Every night, I snuggle into my jersey sheets and polka-dotted duvet and wake up with sunlight pouring through the window facing the Columbia College campus. Maybe I'll still rearrange it - hey, maybe I'll try that feng shui thing - but right now, it's really not so bad at all.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

On the Move

Moving into my dorm room (or half-room, to be exact) took ages. There were floor pillows to unload, clothes to unfold, accessories to untangle, a minifridge to unearth from its tightly taped package. I accidentally ripped my vintage Moulin Rouge posters as I tried to unwrap them from their casings and nearly lost all hope. But after all the bags had been emptied and my parents had finished attending special move-in day meetings and took off for the ride back home, I finally began to organize, and my house of a room became more like a home. I've still got some work to do, but it's getting there...