January 4, 2010
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Today was Good. I accomplished everything I wanted to:
- student card
- stipend/TA payment paperwork
- lab and locker keys
- free photocopies
- free coffee (my classy labmates have fresh beans, a grinder and coffee press – love!)
- signed up for WHMIS training
- set up my laptop to access the campus VPN
- toured the lab in which I’ll be TAing (skeletons! specimen jars! microscopes! petri dishes! Glee!!!)
- wandered through buildings looking for People or Things That Might Be Useful
- met roughly eleventy-million admin-type people, all of whom were lovely and helpful when I randomly appeared in their offices saying “hi, what do YOU do?” They provided useful information then sent me on my way with stuff: maps, checklists, names/emails of other People That Might Be Useful, and in one case, a really swanky stainless steel travel mug! Woot!
- attended my first orientation session – also useful
All good, productive stuff.
I found today…well, surreal for lack of a better term. It was foreign and wonderfully familiar all at once. The environment is a new one, but the soul of the place is something I know well, and it’s very comfortable. It was like finding a really comfy sweatshirt I’d forgotten I owned in the back of the closet, slipping it on, and feeling like, “yeah, that’s nice”. A good fit, if you will.
I also found myself frequently reflecting upon the marked difference between Me, The-30-Year-Old-Student-on-Her-First-Day-of-School and Me, The-19-Year-Old-Student-on-Her-First-Day-of-School.
Me-19 was utterly terrified. Completely out her comfort zone. Avoided social events at all costs (only for the first couple of weeks, I got over it). Barely spoke. Hid in her dorm room. Came across as either: a) a snob, or; b) a weirdo, depending who you asked.
Me-30, today, was confident, friendly, outgoing, chatting with lots of new people, asking questions, and generally having a fantastic time.
The difference is profound, and wonderful.