I am settled in. Reunited with items and artifacts from the summer storage unit. Reunited with friends and friendly faces I haven’t seen since before embarking on study abroad semester. I crawl into bed, exhausted I am ready for yet another first day. This first night is stormy and I feel cozy wrapped up in the familiar feel of freshly cleaned fluffy sheets and that Tempurpedic mattress I’ve longed for all summer (while bunking on beds that felt more like straw bales). I watch the rain pour down on Washu’s campus. I am sure that I am too excited to sleep but I doze off anyway.
In the morning, the overpass is my path to campus. As expected, the ground is riddled with puddles and damp. Tall rain boots free me to romp straight through the little lakes on my way. Oddly, I suppose, the campus after rain is a favorite. The complementary red of the building stone and green of the foliage are deeply saturated with water, bringing out the richness in the campus color.
I stop by Whispers for a matcha tea, then to Eads, into my first classroom. And senior year has begun. Within the day, I can tell that this year is going to be positively different from the last three. The priorities of the curriculum shift forward as we begin to imagine beyond our schooling and entering the “life after WashU” as the Career Center calls it. We are encouraged to think not only about our studies, but we relate ourselves and our studies.
In Italian, we throw away the textbook and just converse, we use the language to speak to each other, to get to know one another through the context of a different culture, a different vocabulary.
“Dove sei andata quest’estate?”
“Sono andata a Cina per un giorno.”
“Solo un giorno? Spiega!”
In writing, we practice memoir, personal essay, and dive deeper into researching things we connect to personally.
Finally, in Communication Design, we are reintroduced to each other and ourselves through personal exercises, questions and conversations.
“I stop and pay attention to this… dogs.”
“Mundane but personally interesting… cracks in objects.”
“I find beauty in this… unorganized boxes of crayons.”
Over the course of this semester we will examine and create the big and the small, all the aspects of ourselves and our experiences that we want to carry forward with us. I am both digging up a personal time capsule whilst creating content and memories to be sealed in a new one. We’ve explored so much yet it’s only the first day…with many other kinds of “first day” to yet to come.