The beginning of April brought the cherry blossoms into full bloom. There is a beautiful line of these trees in the middle of campus, right outside the cafeteria and in-between some buildings. In the spring time, everyone brings out their blankets and does homework on the lawn. Some people might play volleyball if they have the time, and some people, like us, would climb trees. The winter full of rain and grey clouds seems so long that once spring really hits, right around the end of the semester and final exam time, it is torture to stay inside. It was actually probably this very day that Amy convinced Mikaela and I to drop everything and go to her house for Easter.
We had a long weekend. My sister and I had been planning on driving to the States to hang out and pick up some mail my mom had sent. But then Amy showed up with a grand plan and who were we to turn down a weekend on a dairy farm? We dashed to the dorm and the both of us packed in one suitcase. Our girly tendencies got the best of us and we packed way too much, which means that Amy had to help us carry and giant suitcase up staircases and on public transportation for hours. Oops. We eventually made the ferry and even though it was freezing we went on deck for a bit to get some photos and make the most of our adventure.
I had missed a dorm visit to Amy’s house earlier in the year because I had a choir performance. Do you guys ever have those times when basically all of your friends get to go do something extremely fun but you can’t because you have work or class or some other responsibility that you simply cannot get out of? Yeah. I pretty much hated that choir performance simply because I couldn’t go to the farm. This weekend made up for it, though.
Amy’s family’s farm is brilliant. The next day, after spending some time at a coffee shop that had wifi, we came back to enjoy. We explored the fields, I (idiotically) got electrocuted because I didn’t realize the fence was electric, and we got to have a go on their giant rope swing. It was so much fun! My heart was all ready going because I had just been electrocuted (or shocked repeatedly lest you think I am being dramatic), and then on my second go on the swing my leg got caught on the hook they use to pull the rope up to the platform. The girls screamed like I was going to lose my leg and I saw my life flash before my eyes for a moment, but it wasn’t actually that dramatic.
Thus began the rest of the semester and the last few weeks of school.
Whenever we could and whenever the weather was nice enough, we would take our studying outside. Here we are planted outside of the cafeteria where it is easy for passing friends to stop and say hi. This is great for your social life, but not so great for your grades. Here Mikaela is laughing at something “hilarious” that Byron, her now husband, said. Clearly a lot of work is getting done.Kasey continued to hang out with me and me dorm mates until the very end. We went out for breakfast for our girl Naomi’s birthday. With morning hair and morning faces, the girls still posed for pictures for me. I was very photo happy that year. In fact, people stopped bringing their cameras entirely to events because they knew if I was there I would take photos and post them to Facebook almost immediately. Yep, I was that girl.
There were only a few short weeks, or maybe even days left at school. We were all desperately hanging out whenever we could around our exam schedules.I don’t know when we figured out that we could do this, but I’m pretty pleased that we did. When you’re a first year, fresh out of high school and fresh out of living at home with your parents, staying up until four am every night and seeing if you can both climb the door frame at the same time are not very out of the ordinary. Nor are things like seeing if you can fit into a box. See below.This is, without a doubt, one of my fondest memories from university. After they took all of the old couches from the dorms, they put them in the Robson Underground (parking). One night, I’m not sure why but it was probably very late, myself, Mikaela, and a guy friend happened upon them and thought it would be a good idea to construct some sort of fort and then tell very few people about it. I flitted around being cold and completely useless. Mikaela helped a little and boy did most of the work. We named the fort Larry and came to love it. We went back often, especially at night, and I once brought the video camera to film a short horror film (trailer). We loved trying to scare people who were walking to their cars and throwing candy at them was also not unheard of. In the right hand picture, I had been sitting on the back of a couch and was singing a song from Greece. I flung my arms out to emphasize some part of the song and promptly fell off the couch and got stuck. It was pretty brilliant.
Also, we were all very attractive ladies. Can’t you tell? ;]My last photo from first year is from Rockstar night. Our cafeteria sold Rockstars. I had never been much for coffee or energy drinks before school, but once you leave home to a University that doesn’t allow drinking alcohol, you get creative. This Rockstar night was just days before the end of school. We stayed up outrageously late playing games and taking shots of Rockstar. We wrote in each others’ yearbooks and then ended up going to bed by about 5 or 6 in the morning. Also, simply as a public service announcement, I feel inclined to tell you that if you drink a lot of Rockstar, your pee will be florescent. You have been warned.
My first year at university came to a close. I packed my belongings and said goodbye to my friends. The year was not without drama and sadness. I remember the first time I got a D on a midterm and felt like my life was over.
In a lot of ways it’s still like high school–especially first year. There are still people who talk about you behind your back. Your crush still won’t reciprocate your feelings. There will be people who think they are better than you. One of the blessings of my first year is that I just didn’t care what people thought of me. In my senior year of high school, I was on my church’s youth group worship band. The leaders always always emphasized to us that we were the first thing that people saw when they came to youth group. They encouraged us to be godly examples for our peers. I always felt the pressure of a pedestal, and while I naturally follow rules and generally don’t feel like being rebellious or challenging authority, I felt pressure a lot more than I realized. Going off to university and being anonymous was refreshing. The school was small enough that most people who went to events would recognize me and have a general idea of what I was about, but they didn’t know my name or expect me to be a goodie-two-shoes (even though I kind of was). If there’s one piece of advice I could give anyone for their first year of university it would be to embrace the campus and its community for all it’s worth, but to not get consumed by the desire to be “known.” If you are open to friendship, it will happen. Go to events. Be flexible. Stay up late and wake up early. Eat the chicken strips and curly fries. You’re only young once. Your grades are important and don’t waste this opportunity to grow intellectually. If you’re studying to be a doctor, maybe don’t go to every event, but don’t let the college experience completely pass you by.