Wildcats go back to school

Today was the first day of fall semester at the University of Arizona, my alma mater. For the first time in eighteen years, I didn’t have a “first day of school” to look forward to or dread.

For much of my childhood, every “first day of school” was a miserable reality check. From ages 11 to 14, I viewed junior high as the most nightmarish, twisted, mentally scarring institution ever created. To some extent, I still maintain that viewpoint. Middle school sucks. There’s no reason for me to put this in a nicer way. In my pre-teen and early teen years, I spent most class periods writing in journals and envisioning my future, all the while feigning attentiveness to the teacher’s lesson plan. All I ever wanted to do was write, and I promised myself that I’d fulfill this wish someday.

Much to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed high school and got excited for each new “first day of school.” My fellow classmates matured and quit with petty bullying, I got involved with various activities, I began to prepare for the college application process, and I hung out with my friends on the weekends. Life was rosy up until senior year, when my long-term boyfriend went off to military prep school and my father got diagnosed with stage four liver cancer. Bad times.

Anyway, I always had a spectacular “first day of school” every year at the University of Arizona. It’s my hope that all current Wildcats will make the most of their time at the university. Because I loved college so much, I plan on being “that old lady who hangs around the UofA Bookstore all day” when I visit the campus.

Now that I’m in nostalgia mode, I’ll go ahead and post some of my “first week of freshman year” photographs:

Me at Old Main, all by my onesie (August 2006, before I made friends)
Shared dorm room space. My side is on the right, although you could've guessed that
My bed...Yay Red Sox bear!
My former dorm, Coronado. Arizona sunsets are unspeakably gorgeous.

Then there was sophomore year. Because I wanted more out of my dorm experience, I decided to live on campus once again. I moved to Villa del Puente, a much quieter residence hall than Coronado, where I stayed as a freshman:

Desk #2, much different than my freshman year desk.
Sophomore year bed...Red Sox Bear lives on!

At a football game in 2007:

Junior year apartment…Red Sox Bear remains!

Junior year desk a bit more grown up than the other two:

Senior year bed

Senior year desk:

The Red Sox Bear lives atop my new queen bed, but I won’t post a picture of my current room because I’d like to keep that sort of thing private right now. I’m glad that so many of my valued possessions such as photographs and my dad’s Red Sox Bear have lasted all this time. It’s interesting how certain living spaces change yet remain the same for each move.

This afternoon, I made a trip to Metro Center and got screamed at by a belligerent homeless dude.

It wasn’t the first time I’d encountered an unruly D.C. hobo, so I didn’t get freak out today, although I did eventually walk away.

Before entering the metro, I decided to take off my sweater and check my cell phone messages. There was a bench a few feet away from me, and that’s where the homeless guy was hanging out. He’d been yelling at one woman until she crossed the street. When she disappeared, he began shouting incoherently at me.

I couldn’t decide if it would be safer to stay put or rush down the metro escalators to escape the verbal abuse. I briefly attempted to decipher his slurring sentences without any luck.

I still have no idea what he was so angry about. Passing him off as an unfortunate victim of insanity, I edged over to the metro stairs and chose to move on with my day.

It’s my hope that all homeless people get the mental and financial help that they need to reconstruct their lives, but this probably couldn’t happen for everybody. Not everyone wants to be helped or saved, after all.

In a few days, my roommate and I are going to visit the Julia Child exhibit, which appears in the film Julie and Julia. I’m also excited to go back to the Newseum, a fairly new museum dedicated to journalism. Another memorable place is of course the Holocaust Museum, which literally made me feel sick to my stomach and utterly despondent for nearly a week. Ironically, my favorite D.C. museums (Holocaust, Newseum) have downright depressing content. The Newseum has an entire floor area devoted to 9/11, and the Holocaust Museum needs no explanation as to why it’s an unhappy place. There I go again with the glutton for punishment thing. No bueno.

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