Life has an uncanny habit of cajoling you onto a path that strays substantially from your comfort zone, overwhelming you with sudden novelty. Having lived my entire life in the same house in a tranquil neighborhood of Bangalore in South India, the 33-hour journey to Upstate New York seemed like a surreal proposition found in the pages of a clichéd travelogue.
The day dawned bright and clear—a contrast to the erratic emotions that threatened to engulf me. I felt trepidation during the goodbyes as the airport departure terminal’s glass doors shut behind me. But looking back, that was ridiculously unnecessary as Hoeing Hall has, over the course of the past month, become home.
Arriving at the University of Rochester was daunting. I was irrationally uncertain about my social and academic competence, which rendered the 2.5-mile shuttle ride between the Greater Rochester International Airport and Faculty Road as turbulent a ride as the second leg of my flight between Abu Dhabi and New York City. However, all my fears disappeared within a few hours on campus, as the accepting nature of the place manifested itself in subtle ways.
Orientation week was a blur of new faces, an inexhaustible supply of cookies, a relentless tirade of pleasantries, and numerous awe-inspiring displays of talent. Suddenly, even the slightest shred of home-sickness was fading away with the delightful vibes of campus life. When I was finally able to take a step back and reflect after the onslaught of extraordinary events, during a conversation with a friend, I realized that I had unconsciously started referring to Rochester as “home.”
It only took a week.
This frenetic commencement to college transitioned into hectic work weeks as classes began. I quickly grew accustomed to a monstrously stressful, yet gloriously satisfying, schedule. The highlights of my day were watching Professor Goldfarb’s hilarious antics as he passionately described the passage of a polypeptide chain through the Golgi apparatus, and meals at Danforth and Douglass with a group of friends who were rapidly becoming my family. A blink of an eye later, over a month and a half had passed.
Summary? Here goes.
Freedom of college life? Delightful.
Meliora Weekend? An experience of a lifetime.
Temperature in the Fahrenheit scale? Absurd.
Walks along the banks of the Genesee? Picturesque.
Classes? Truly enjoyable.
Netflix marathons? Compulsory.
Culture shock? Immense.