You wake up on Monday morning, and realize that you are in your dorm room.
Today is your first day of classes as a college student at The University of Mary Washington.
You feel a rush of mixed feelings, ranging from bitter terror to daring excitement.
The first day of classes has been anticipated and prepared for, but now that it's upon you you're not so sure it's the best option.
Laying in a bed in the room which does not yet feel like home, you consider your options: get up and go to class, embracing the adventure you are about to begin, or quit college right now, before it's too late.
What should you do?
[[Stay in bed->Quit]]
[[Embrace the adventure->Take the next step]]You hide in your dorm room all day, and finally muster up the courage to call your parents and request to drop out.
And so ends your college adventure.Despite the fear and anxiety which prevents you from jumping out of bed in excitement, you still get up and ready for your first day.
You pack your backpack with everything you will need--notebooks, laptop, planner, pencil case, snacks, water bottle...
...then you double and triple check to ensure that you don't forget anything.
Finally, you login to Banner to verify your schedule.
You stare at the screen and write down every class, time, and building you need to know.
Now you are ready to go.
You take a long, slow breath to calm your nerves, then pull your backpack up on your shoulders and step out the door, barely remembering to lock the door behind you.
Then you head to [[breakfast]].The top of the UC is busy with eager and determined students.
You hand over your Eagle One to the cashier, and turn to find a seat and some food.
After eventually deciding where to sit, it's time to actually eat.
Although you have picked your own breakfast countless times before this morning, something about how many options and the fact that you're in a university dining hall throws you into a panic about what to eat.
There is a full breakfast with potatoes and eggs, or simply cereal or oatmeal. Take your pick.
[[Tater tots]]So you chose cereal.
But that simply isn't enough to get you through one of the most hectic and exhausting days of your life.
Maybe tomorrow you'll realize that the tater tots are ALWAYS the best decision.You choose the tater tots, along with some eggs and sausage.
Some fruit and chocolate milk adds to your plate and you are set.
Now you are ready to [[start your day.]]Your first class is music theory.
You look at your cheat sheet and set out towards Pollard.
Now the campus is crawling with students, each with their own mission and schedule for the day.
Pushed along in the throng of people, you manage to locate Pollard.
Once inside this maze of a building, you look at your paper again: Room 304.
You find the staircase and go up, but the stairs end on the second floor.
You double check the paper, and it definitely says Pollard 304.
So where's the rest of the staircase?
You now have another decision to make:
[[Ask for directions]]
or[[Keep looking yourself.]]It was a good intention, but unfortunately everyone is too busy with other people or projects.
So you're back to square one, and finding the room for yourself.As you walk up and down the hallway, pretending to know what you're doing, even though everyone can tell you're just a hopelessly lost freshman, you finally notice a sign on a door which reads: "Stairs to 304."
Relieved, you climb yet another flight of stairs, and suddenly you are in the Pollard recital hall.
Congratulations! You made it to your first class!
When the first lecture comes to an end, you take a deep breath before venturing out into the chaotic and intimidating world of a college student once again, to find your [[Second class]]Next on your list is your freshman seminar, or FSEM, as everyone here seems to be calling it.
You double check the building, and remember that the Hurley Convergence Center (HCC, if you're cool) is right across from Pollard.
With a vague sense of direction and belonging, you make your way across the crowded Campus Walk and into the other building.
The HCC is far more modern and intimidating than Pollard...or maybe just scary in a different way.
But you have now survived your very first college class, so you aren't ready to give in just yet. Maybe by the end of the day, but not yet.
So, you go into your FSEM, and believe it or not, you make it through that one, too.
Now it's 10:50, and you decide you could get food before everyone else will be doing the same.
You head over to get [[lunch at the UC]].Entering the University Center, you don't think twice about taking the stairs.
Little do you know that pretty soon you will loathe that staircase, which forces such a workout before your meal.
After swiping into the dining hall, you drop your backpack off at the furthest possible table.
Then you set out with a reluctant hunger to find some nourishment.
Back to the sad anxiety of choosing what to eat, you wander aimlessly around the place a few times, grateful that there aren't too many people around, and that nobody seems to care in the least bit what you're doing.
The burgers look much too flat to be real meat, the deli requires too much talking, and a homecooked meal brings back a bitter sense of homesickness that you would rather avoid at the moment.
Salad doesn't need much attention, and nobody is around that section, so you go with salad.
After you finish lunch, all you want is a moment to yourself, with no one else around. And the only place to get that precious moment of solitude is back in your [[dorm room]].You're not used to walking so far just to get back to your own bedroom, and by the time you arrive you feel as if you've just hiked up a mountain.
Overwhelmed and exhausted, you nearly collapse onto your bed, cherishing the silence and familiarity of this space.
You see the pictures of your family hanging on the wall, and you quickly turn away before a wave of homesickness washes you onto the shores of despair and surrender.
Only one more class, you tell yourself, desperately trying to recall the daring determination you had possessed just a week earlier.
Once the clouds of doubt and fear clear away, you find the gumption to pull out your planner and write down what homework you will have for the rest of the week.
The hours seem to drag along the way a worm makes its agonizingly slow way across the sidewalk.
Finally, it's time to walk to your third and final class for the day.
You pull your backpack onto your shoulders again, and set out for (double check your cheat sheet)[[ Monroe]].At this point the only two buildings you feel confident about calling by name are the UC and Lee Hall.
You only know Monroe because there's a fountain in front of it.
Still glancing as casually as you can manage at the slip of paper in your hand, you make your way to Monroe, and up to the third floor.
The hallway is lined with students waiting for the 2:00 class to get out so they can take their seats for the 3:00.
You wait along with the others, pretending to be at ease.
2:50 rolls around lazily, and the hall is suddenly swarmed with departing students.
Frantically wondering where you'll sit in this classroom, knowing it's a larger class, you follow the crowd as it empties from the hallway into the lecture hall.
You take your seat almost in a daze and barely come out of it during the introduction to this anthropology class.
But fifty more minutes go by, and you have finished your first day of classes.
Now what should you do?
You could [[Call your parents]] and let them know how it went, or you could get started on [[Homework]] right away, to try and get ahead while you can.Your mom is so excited that you call, and she asks you more questions than you thought humanly possible about a single day.
Your dad congratulates you and inquires whether or not you're up to continue, or if he should come pick you up that night.
Talking to your parents helps redirect your fear to excitement once again, and you start to feel slightly more confident.
After you finish the conversation, it's time for [[dinner]].Of course your mom was going to call you anyway, so why not give her the joy of you being the first to reach out?You meet your roommate at the UC.
This time you're feeling bold enough to try the homecooked meals.
Together, the two of you share the anxieties and victories of your first day as full time college students.
And tomorrow doesn't seem as terrifying as it did this morning.
That night, you make sure everything is ready for day two, and then you gratefully collapse into bed for a somewhat restful sleep.
Before you know it, [[Tuesday morning]] has arrived.Today is an easier day.
You only have one class, which starts at 2:00.
After breakfast, you're not entirely sure where to go.
You have homework to do, but where should you do it?
Some people go to the [[HCC]], others to the [[library]], and still others to their [[room]].So you walk to the HCC, but pretty much everyone else on campus has the same idea.
There is no way you can focus with so many people around.
Try another spot to study.This would be a good choice, except that it is also busy.
Unfortunately, you're just a freshman, and with all the information you've been given about UMW, even all the tips which are supposed to make your life easier, you've forgotten that there are two more levels in the library that you could have explored.Despite the sense of hope and confidence you woke up with this morning, homesickness still holds a strong position in your life right now.
There's something about your own room, with your own bed and desk and belongings, which is comforting.
Most other students in your dorm are out and about, so it's pretty quiet, too.
You decide the most comfortable place to study is right here, in your room.
After a few hours you go to lunch, and then it's time to find your fourth class.
The cheat sheet returns as you clarify when and where (and what class, for that matter) you have today.
Public Speaking, in [[Combs]].You've heard that Combs, like Pollard, can be confusing.
So you give yourself a solid twenty minutes to get from Randolph to Combs.
Once inside, you panic again, unsure where the staircase is.
Should you go [[left]] or [[right]]?You don't want to admit it, but you have no idea how your meal plan works.
There's a vague memory of your peer mentor telling you about how many on campus meal swipes and flex dollars you have, but exactly how that translates to actually purchasing dinner, you have absolutely no idea.
You decide you'll let your friends go first and listent to what they say.
Choosing your two slices of pizza (like the others did before you), it's your turn to pay.
You hand the cashier your EagleOne, and the cashier asks, "Meal swipe?"
[[No.]]Day two is complete, and you settle down for another night.
This time you sleep a little bit more easily.
The next morning dawns, and you rise with a bit more strength and determination.
Hello, [[Wednesday]]!Today you have some sense of where you're going and what you're going to do.
You make it through classes, returning to your dorm to study.
That evening, you attend Club Carnival, where you sign up for a variety of clubs ranging from Juggling to the Catholic Campus Ministry.
Don't worry, you don't even attend the interest meetings of most of them.
Wednesday comes to a close, and [[Thursday]] soon begins.You set a bit of a solid schedule for yourself at this point, and things don't seem so totally new anymore.
Having been through it all at least once before helps you to get through it one more time.
You are starting to dislike the stairs in the UC, though, but have not yet resorted to the elevator.
Public Speaking proves to be rather fascinating, and at the end of today you reflect on how you came to be in college.
You dare to hope that you will survive your first week, because [[Friday]] is only hours away...The moment you step out of your last class, you are overwhelmed with a sense of victory and excitement.
You just made it through your first week of college, and you're still standing.
You have no idea what happened, or how you survived.
Everything after the first two days with every little decision seeming like the end of the world is a blur.
But here you are, a fully functioning (well, mostly) college student attending The University of Mary Washington.
And the adventure is just beginning.Thank goodness, that was the correct answer!
And now you have successfully eaten somewhere besides the UC.
After dinner, you [[return to your dorm]].Technically, you could use flex, cash, or credit, but for the sake of this story the correct answer is meal swipe.You turn to the left, and then see a door which everyone seems to be using.
Stepping closer (yet remaining off to the side in case you've made a mistake), you realize that it is in fact the staircase.
By taking it one flight down, you find yourself in the basement and locate your classroom: 004.
You're not too sure about taking Public Speaking, but after being introduced to the professor, you discover that you're kind of excited about it.
And before you know it, you've reached the end of your second day.
A couple people you met from your dorm are going to [[Vocellis]] for dinner, and you accept the invitation to join them.It turns out that there happens to be a staircase on both sides of the building...you decide that makes sense, although you hadn't considered it a possibility before.
You take it one flight down and find yourself in the basement, locating your classroom: 004.
You're not too sure about taking Public Speaking, but after being introduced to the professor, you realize that you're kind of excited about it.
And before you know it, you've reached the end of your second day.
A couple people you met from your dorm are going to [[Vocellis]] for dinner, and you accept the invitation to join them.