Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Freedom, Fun, and Disappointment

My second day here I was already running late. All of us had to meet outside our dorm by 9:30 AM where we would begin taking a tour of the home ground of the campus. By that time, I had just awaken form my peaceful slumber stressing out as I looked at them time. I shot a quick text to my RC Louise and told her I was running a bit late and she responded with patience. I started to speed getting ready. I felt bad that everyone was already outside while I still needed to put on pants. Confused, I wondered why I couldn’t hear my alarm go off at 8:30 AM. I soon figured out later on in the day that I set it to PM instead of AM. I was finished changing and grabbed the essentials without fixing my hair. I merged in with the crowd unnoticed from the other students. Louise and Val both did a headcount seeing I had appeared and soon started the tour.

In the tour, we walked around the area John, my cohort, Dyana, and I had walked around while we were talking the first day of us arriving in Philly. The area was familiar enough to where I wouldn’t be confused if I was walking with a friend within the area. They showed us the cut off zones where we weren’t allowed to explore beyond with the exception of a few places. We could not go past Chestnut or PENN Park. The amount of roaming ground within the home area was plenty enough for us at the program. It makes me feel a bit more mature and responsible being handed this trust to follow directions and be safe.

After the tour ended and we walked back to the Quad, it was time for us to eat Brunch. A lot of us were hungry and not use to eating a while after awakening since school. We all lined up at the bottom of the Quad area and picked the food we wanted, and suck it in a bag. I grabbed a sesame seed bagel with cream cheese, a bland muffin, an Oatmeal Raisin Nature Valley Bar, and an Orange. with a bottle of water. Not exactly what I was expecting for brunch, but it turned out to be quite filling.

I wasn’t sure where my group had wandered off to but I ended up doing my own thing. I headed to the office building where I would be able to sign up for Tuesday and Wednesday’s activities. The ones I had wanted to go to were laser tag on Wednesday and the Magic Garden or Tie-Dying on Tuesday. All I needed to do was show up at 5:00 PM except for laser tag, which was already filled. I was bummed out about the laser tag and was about to leave the building when I ran into Chris in the hallway. We started catching up with one another and hung out for the rest of the break time. I hardly ever see Diana and Allonna around but I know we can all hang out together with just a text.

Kickball in PENN Park
The breaks only lasting for less than an hour, it was soon 1:30 PM, the time when we’re all meeting up again. This activity was kick ball. My dorm and a few others had gathered together to meet at PENN Park where we would all have fun in the sun eating popsicles, decorating red, white, and blue cookies, and hanging out while playing kick ball or with a Frisbee. I haven’t played kick ball since I was in elementary school, so playing again brought back a rush of memories from when I was even younger than I am now. I’m not the athletic type of person who is all about playing sports or exercising, but today I changed that. I actually decided to go out of my comfort zone and play kick ball with the others. Even though I’m horrible at it I still had a good time. The people I was playing with were chill and supportive. No one put blame on one another or grew butt hurt about losing. Everyone had good sportsmanship. The day was not bad at all.

It started sprinkling a bit as I started walking back to the Quad to grab some dinner. I didn’t mind the rain but was concerned about later on tonight when we watched the fireworks. I stood in line where tonight’s dinner was BBQ. I had a pulled turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and provolone cheese, along with potato salad, watermelon, salad, a peanut butter cookie and a dark chocolate fudge brownie. The food was pretty decent. A little spoiled from when we were eating with John, but stayed optimistic by comparing it with our school food, which made the dinner seem like heaven.

Orientation Slide Show
Soon enough it was time for orientation. It feels like time passes by so fast around here. I guess because they’re always keeping us busy that we don’t have much time to waste on our own, which is good. In our orientation we had represented where we were all at in programs, to location, and the distance it took each of us to travel here. Once the directors of the programs got a feel for who we all were or the amount of diversity in the room, the presentation began. As they were delivering it, each director or coordinator took turns to help us not fall asleep. I don’t know what it is about sitting in comfy chairs in a large room of 331 people, not including faculty, listening to people talk about rules and mishaps of what can cause us to be sent home that makes people drift off into sleep. Wrapping up the presentation, the presenters mentioned to us on how proud they were of us. We are all top and outstanding students within our own community and are now here together today. The room roared with applause from all of us. I was appreciating everything that I have or will have while being here as those words repeated over in my head giving me proof that I am steering in the right direction.

What the clouds were foreshadowing earlier when I was departing from the park, turned into reality. It was raining walking out of the warm building. Trying to stay dry was impossible. I wasn’t upset or anything over it because it is just water. I have pity for the girls who straighten or curl their hairs or is wearing fifty pounds of makeup because all of that added with water does not equal cute. Getting back inside took around twenty minutes. There is only one entrance into the Quad and we each have to merge into two single file lines where we would swipe our ID card through the automatic gates and enter our 4-digit pin number to advance into our dorms. It’s a long process if there’s a large number of people trying to enter all at once.

Packed Room at Orintation
After my clothes were wet from the rain, I had taken them off and changed into something warmer. I waited for the time when we would all meet to watch the fireworks. I charged my phone and placed my wallet in my pale green North Face Hyvent Wind Breaker; I was ready to get up and go. By the time it was for us to meet outside the rain grew more intense. It was hard seeing through the sky because all that was visible was a thick, gray mist along with dark rain clouds in the sky. I hoped that it wouldn’t factor our vision for the fireworks but deep down knew that it was highly unlikely. 

Sloshing through the rain and to PENN Park was a bad idea. All of our hopes were set to a high standard of spending our independence day in such a historical city were crushed. All of us were standing out in the rain for almost an hour waiting for the show to begin and ended up drenched. To pass the time by, we all started singing songs appropriate for the holiday such as The Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America. As well as watch another student slide down the hill of grass wearing a T-shirt and shorts; he has no shame or regret. When it finally did begin, we couldn’t even see the view. We all relocated to a parking lot to where we could actually see them in the air. Even with that only half of the fireworks lit up, the other half was covered by gray haze. Extremely let down and disappointed by the weather, I moped back to my dorm where I could finally change out of my grimy clothes, wash up, and head to bed. I wish we were able to go to the parade and concert they were hosting in Philadelphia but it was strange how our orientation was set up on a holiday. Even though the day didn’t end in a bag as I had hoped, I still enjoyed it. 

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