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  • Writer's pictureElisha Bae

Nerves & Notions


There are a few pencils in a green pencil holder. Two hands are on top of a green notepad.

Five days. That's how long I have until I board the plane that'll take me to New York — and from there, to my new college!


It's going to be a wildly different experience from summer camps or spending a few days abroad since I'll be living there for four years until I graduate. But it's a good thing that I have experience packing (especially for living in a dorm) because even though I made a list, things keep coming up (like how many toothbrushes I'll need or whether I should invest in a mattress topper).


A lot of the instructors and older students at Swarthmore were saying that we should pack lightly. Apparently, students pack things that they won't be using and end up cluttering the room. But for an international student like me who's traveling halfway across the globe to get there, it really is hard to 'pack lightly'. I guess I'm just worried that the things there won't be the ones that I'm used to.


One concern I had was about my dorm room and roommate. I had all sorts of worries — what if the place had rats? What if my roommate loves blasting music while she sleeps? What if I had more than one roommate? And these endless scenarios played in my head until a few days ago when I was finally assigned a room and a roommate.


I got assigned to David Kemp, which is one of the relatively newer buildings at Swarthmore. So while everyone else was worried about the heat and having rats (!) in the basement, I was able to indulge in the fact that we have a really good lounge area and an AC system! I got into contact with my roommate a few days after the announcement, and we've already exchanged some vital information regarding our preferences. Since the school based the roommate assignment on a survey we took, it wasn't surprising that we had a lot of common preferences (needing complete darkness/silence when sleeping, keeping the room a private space for just the two of us, etc). Knowing this eased my worries regarding living with someone else -- it's also an added bonus that I have a choice of which side of the room I'll use since I'm getting there earlier than my roommate.


At this point, I'm just really excited about International Student Orientation. I'll get to know more about what it's like to live in the US (though from my previous experiences of summer camp, I have a pretty good idea of it). I was told that I'm assigned to Group 4, Phoenixes (apparently, they decided to go for a 'mythical creatures' theme this year); I thought that was really cool since our school mascot is a Phoenix too.


I'm counting down to the day that I get to go on the plane. But for now, I'll get back to packing my suitcase >.<

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