Columnist reflects on schooling away from home

With the semester coming to an end, I remember how my first week in college started.

I should have felt really excited because not only was I going to a university but a university in a new country. But after a long twenty one hour flight, that was not really the case.

If you plan to start in the spring semester as I did, be prepared to battle the January winter. I have grown up seeing snow in movies and it always seemed amazingly romantic to me, until the very first day in Brookings.

I stood in a crazy amount of snow, with a map in my hand trying to figure out which way to go to the Rotunda. Joining the session late is never a good idea and missing the orientation is even worse.

While I was finding my classes, I realized that whatever good navigation skill I thought I had really did not help when encountering my first snowfall. Taking long routes, walking around the same building until you realize that there are three entrances in three different directions in the same building, struggling with the map and trying to see clearer through the ROMANTIC snow was all part of my great first week.

My first night in the dorms, with no roommate, I could not sleep all night. I finally decided to get out of my bed and take a shower. It was around five a.m. I was under splashing hot water in the shower and in the background started the fire alarm. What? I mean why?

And here begins my second day. I was looking for my pre-calculus class. By the way, thanks to the stranger who helped me find the Frost Arena when I was already wandering around the Frost Arena. I was actually confused if they had any classes in there, as all I could see was a swimming pool and basketball court. I missed one more class looking for room 120 which seemed invisible.

After my first adventurous week, which was more like some treasure hunt, I spent my weekend sleeping for almost two days. But as the second week started, I knew the campus well. I started to enjoy snow as I walked with my coffee mug.

It is one of my biggest achievements that I am here, thousands of miles away from my family, living on my own and living what I dreamt of. If you can learn to laugh at your own stupidity, you will not see them as a bad experience anymore. Instead, they become a part of your beautiful college life.

Spring has arrived and things are changing fast. From a pleasant weather to green landscape, more skateboards and more t-shirts. What we should not forget is to cherish these experiences and moments and actually live them.

Palak is a civil engineering major and can be reached at [email protected]