I was nervous. Quivering hands was an understatement.
My fingers traced the lining of the four generic U-Haul boxes packed at the back seats of my mother's white Subaru. As soon as the engine rumbled to silence, my two friends and I hopped out the side doors. My anxiety was a good distraction from the lines of parked cars and bustling students moving into their new homes. This was Greek Row.
We walked towards an aged building covered in vines and ivory columns supporting the entrance. Two full-forced breaths of air pressed against my chest. I could barely let out an audible "let's go" before I opened the beige double doors.
What welcomed me was a fairly simple common area with a set of couches and tables layered in one corner and a small office to the left.
"You must be Silvia!"
A tall woman with a crimson dress that complimented her pale white skin emerged from the office. She had the longest gleaming black hair, waving elegantly down her thighs. With such a bright smile, I couldn't help but return the gesture.
"Hi, are you Athena?"
Even her name gave off the same dignified radiance that her appearance befitted.
"Yes! Let me show you around Eta Beta."
This was the beginning of my new life. It was a new chapter unfolding up the stairs and through the hallways, passing by the kitchen and weaving around the dining area. All while trying not to let the edges of the boxes labeled “clothing” spill out of my hands. Sarah and Lillian followed closely behind, carrying with them the remnants of home stuffed away in containers.
The door was white. The same door that would signify that I was no longer Silvia the high school student, but Silvia the college freshman. I was Silvia, no longer living with my parents. I was Silvia, an independent adult.
Coming from the small suburban Edmonds city in Washington was different. Now I was surrounded by the busy streets of Seattle. The sounds outside was filled with shouting sorority girls and professional movers shifting through furniture. They drowned out all my nerves.
Light emanated through the windows as I heard the hinges creaking when Athena pushed open the entrance. She left us to explore the simple dormitory-style room. Half the room belonged to me. My desk was situated in front of my bed and a wardrobe was graciously stationed at the other end. The floor wasn’t carpet, which was disappointing, but a pair slippers took care of that.
We made several trips from the car to my room as we gathered as much of the packing I had prepared the week before. The room was thankfully furnished, so big appliances were off my list of worries.
If it weren’t for the help of my friends, transferring all my belongings would have taken at least an extra two hours. I was a typical college freshman; I thought I needed to bring my entire house with me, everything from my books to my pictures to my pencil sharpener. If I had it, I brought it. My wonderful mother also took time out of her schedule to give us a ride. The parking was atrocious that day, so she saved us from the headache that could have doomed us before even setting foot inside the house.
Somewhere in between all the moving, my roommates came back from their own errands and introduced themselves as international graduate students. Wow, was all that consumed my thoughts. Various shades of white flushed my face at the thought of befriending students in completely different worlds.
Everything was happening.
It took the rest of the day plus some to set up my room just the way I wanted. Call me a perfectionist, but there was a certain atmosphere I wanted to capture. At the end of the week, I was ready to be the college student that filled my dreams and fantasies during the summer after graduation.
I won’t lie. There were a few hiccups from my experience. I definitely packed too much, and yet not enough. The biggest learning experience was knowing what to pack. I brought so many mementos that it began cluttering the space below my bed and on top of it. For some reason, I thought it was smart to bring every spare kitchen appliance that I could stuff in my mother’s already cramped car.
The thing I would do differently and advise other students to do is pack what you need. If you need some remembrance of home, bring a couple scrapbooks not boxes of albums. You will only need one pot and pan. College students learn how to make do with just a couple appliances. Worst case scenario: treat yourself to a new set if you can’t.
** This was an essay prompt written for Movers.corp 2018 Scholarship.