The Shyness Project

My First Day of College (Part II)

PART 2 Continued from Part 1

I was feeling pumped after my great start to the day and marched into my first class, International Relations, with confidence. 

I did a silly thing however and planted myself at a desk isolated from people already seated.  That was kind of dumb.  You can’t talk to people if you aren’t sitting next to people.  Luckily, the seats around me filled quickly.  The room was uncomfortably quiet, however, and I hesitated to break the silence.

Even so, I turned to my left and started talking to the girl next to me.  I introduced myself and she did the same.  When I asked her where she went to high school, I thought she said the name of my town!  I thought that was crazy!  Excited, I said, “Really?!  Me too!  How do I not know you?”

She looked at me, confused.  Then I felt confused.  “You did say (name of my town), right?”

“No I said Indonesia!” she exclaimed.

I laughed at the mix up, and admitted with an amused smile that I wasn’t from Indonesia then.

She smiled.  She told me she’d only been here (the U.S.) a month, which surprised me and I told her.  She has great English!  She was flattered and thanked me for saying that.  I was talking a lot to her and asking questions, and I actually started to worry I was talking TOO much.  I decided to be a little quieter.

I found out that she had a similar schedule to me and we both had about a two hour break after this class before our next classes.  I thought about asking her if she wanted to have lunch, but I was afraid that I had talked too much earlier and she might find me annoying.  I decided to not ask in case I was being overly friendly.

The class started and the syllabus was intimidating with all the work to be done in the class.  We were given an assignment and were told we could work with other people around us.  To summarize, I introduced myself to Erica in front of me, K to my diagonal, and Aileen on my right, and brought Yuli into the group too.  The teacher beamed at us as were introducing ourselves and laughing- the assignment was baffling us all (filling in the countries of a blank Middle East map). To my surprise, many of the others in the class stuck to themselves in hesitation.

After class we all gathered our things, and Erica turned to say bye to me before she left.  I stood up to leave and Yuli did too, and wouldn’t you know it, she said “Come! Let’s have lunch together!”

I was delightfully surprised that she wanted to have lunch and was relieved that I hadn’t talked too much earlier.  I smiled and said “Yeah that would be great!”

So we had lunch together and she told me all about Indonesia and I told her about America.  Our cultures and experiences didn’t really sound that different.  We wandered around the campus together and it was really nice.  I felt comfortable with her already.  I noticed several people on their own at lunch reading or whatever else.  I was glad I had made a friend already and didn’t have to eat alone.

After nearly two hours of talking, walking, and sitting, it was time to part ways for our classes, and I swapped numbers with her too.

Swing dance class was next.  Soon enough, I started talking with one of the girls waiting outside the class.  Turns out she’s a professional belly dancer despite her petite figure.  We stuck together the rest of the class.

Afterward in salsa class, I was approached for the first time.  The guy leaning against the wall next to me started talking to me, and I was glad someone came up to me.  When we entered the class he met another guy, and then I met the other guy too, and we all became friends.  We lined up side by side smiling as we got ready to learn the salsa.  They were both friendly, nice guys and I was glad we had already become friends.

And that concludes my first day of college.  It could not have gone any better!


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24 thoughts on “My First Day of College (Part II)

  1. Sounds like a great start to college! I remember my first day in the university, I was so excited by all the visits I would get from my floor. I was lucky to be placed in a what was considered the most social dorm hall in my school.

    People make such a big deal about the Freshman 15! It’s true, a lot of people gain weight because there are so many events with food, and late night studying… But once you get used to it and get your life routine done and squeeze in time to exercise, you lose it.

    • Thank you, it was a great start! 🙂 That is great about your first day! I’m glad it was very exciting and you got placed in a friendly dorm!

      Haha, I do hear some of my friends worry about that who are going away to college, I guess that is one benefit of going to community college! No Freshman 15! 🙂 I’m sure once I transfer and have to handle all the cooking on my own then I may have more difficulties eating healthy as much as I am now though. I’m sure once you get adjusted it gets easier though like you say. Thanks for stopping by, nice to meet you!

  2. Hurray! It sounds like you are off to a great start!

  3. Barbara Markway on said:

    So glad you had a great first day! You tell your stories so well; I was smiling all the way through!

  4. What a promising opening! I loved the way that, even though you had made a mistake, you both turned it into an opportunity. Hope the next few days are filled with adventure 🙂

  5. Nice writing here and good sharing, I felt like I was in class too and filled with excitement. First assignments can be so confusing and then all of a sudden after a quarter or semester or two they just seem like old hat.

    Here is trick I taught my kiddos…..if at all possible read the whole text before classes begin…it will help to make the pieces fit together better and take away lots of confusions – also if the Prof does not use the whole text you are still ahead of the game because you can see what he or she was going for. An overview is just such an important skill to have now that in college you will be expected to learn the material and the instructors will not be holding your hand or directing you.

    second suggestion: take notes from your reading and in class…then when you get home translate your notes onto your computer – maybe in outline form This will assist you in learning the material and being able to use it when you need to think about and write about what you have learned. It also helps us quiet folks be brave enough to raise the hand and ask a question when there is a confusing about a concept or idea.

    Balanced with dancing What fun – Glad you were approached too – That is an award in itself

    • Haha yeah I was worried at first I was the only one who had no idea about the map, but the whole class was in the same boat and the teacher did that on purpose. She meant it as kind of a little joke and icebreaker I think, and didn’t actually expect us to know it coming in. But now I can say that I know it! I’ve practiced enough times and know where everything in the Middle East is on the map.

      Yep sounds right, that’s what I do usually! I had read Chapter 1 before class but we ended up going over it later and she hadn’t expected us to read it. She gave us an outline then and that helped with notetaking. Sounds like my school habits already coincide with your suggestions, that’s good! 🙂 If anything I over-prepare and study.

      Thanks Patricia! Dancing has been great! I’ve picked up Salsa and Merengue pretty darn quick and Swing’s had some new stuff but I’ve had quite a bit of experience with that before. And yes it was cool to be on the other side of things and have someone come up to me!

  6. Wow, you sound like you are becoming quite popular, huh? 🙂
    That’s awesome how many people you have met already and you’ll probably meet many more, cause judging by the way you write, you seem like a really fun, nice person to hang with! Glad you had such a great experience!

    • Haha I don’t know about that, but I’m meeting several new people! 🙂

      I hope I can meet more! Thanks Sharon, that means a lot! 🙂 We’d be hanging out too if I lived in Texas! Thanks I’m really glad and relieved too!

  7. Sounds as if you are having an awesome tie:) can’t wait to hear more

  8. kindamixedup on said:

    Hum. Dumb? I don’t know. Maybe those are just old habits that resurface once in a while? I used to always sit in the back in class. In a corner. Now, I try to sit in the middle of the class because I have the same goals as you do – connecting with more people, talking, talking, talking. But every once in a while, I walk into class and go straight to one corner without even realizing it. Searching for a safe place to rest, I guess. Meeting new people is great, but sometimes I just feel like being on my own.

    I get worried I am talking too much as well! But then, some people don’t talk much and I fear awkward silences… Maybe I should not fear them? Maybe it is a bit normal to have a few silences in a conversation with a stranger at first. What do you think? I’m asking because sometimes it is very tricky to find balance between talking and asking questions, and letting the other person talk and ask questions. No?

    I am so glad you met so many people and got to have lunch with them. Hopefully a great friendship will arise from that. Congrats on your first day at college! I might sound like an old boring aunt, and I was told that line over and over again at your age, but really, Brittany: enjoy college life as much as possible. Really. Here, college is two years and it went by sooooo quickly! There is something magical about college and it is only went you leave college that you realize it.

    • Yeah it was just my initial reaction to think that was silly of me, but it turned out to be a great choice because I met Yuli and K that way! 🙂 Sometimes it’s better to just leave things up to chance a little and see who comes and sits next to you rather than purposefully sitting next to someone. I’ve met some great people that way. I think a while ago I used to sit in the back of the class too, but that was before the middle of high school when I started having trouble seeing the board. Now I always sit one of the first few rows so I can see clearly and I’m more likely to participate that way too if I’m close to the front. I think the middle is a good place to sit too, I should try that again sometime. Yeah sometimes in some classes you just feel like sticking to yourself and feel fine with that, and other times you want to try and approach someone.

      Making conversation with someone you don’t know is tricky, and I know the inner conflict you are speaking of where you wonder if you should just keep talking even though it seems like you’re doing most of the talking, or just let there be some silences and see if they take it from there. I think it’s normal to have a few short silences, that happens to me time to time.

      It is tricky trying to figure out what to do. It’s really hard to know because it depends person to person, but for me, for the first conversation, I just try and keep talking and saying whatever I can think of and asking questions. If it’s someone who is pretty talkative it turns out to be easier because they respond fully and talk a while answering questions and may mention some things that I can comment on about talk about myself. Though if it’s someone who doesn’t say as much that first meeting, which happens more than the talkative response I’ve found, then I just try and keep talking, though be mindful of body signals and all that and maybe try to leave in a few pauses in case he or she wants to add something. There’s not really a clear cut path though, I guess just try not to over think it and just focus on the other person instead of your inner dialogue. Ask some questions, and then once they answer, you can sort of answer them yourself in a conversational matter. Like if you ask what their major is, and they say Biology, then you can ask them about how they chose it and all that and more about it, and then after they’ve talked a while, then you can say my major is Communications and more about your major, and so forth. That seems to be a good way to get some balance, though if you’re the one making the first move it probably isn’t going to be perfectly balanced anyway because usually the one who first breaks the ice has to do more of the talking to keep things going. That’s a lengthy answer, but it’s what I’ve found to work well in my experience.

      Thanks Vee, I hope it goes slowly! 🙂 I am enjoying my time in college and will be sad to graduate in the end, at least I think that now, though probably in a few years I’ll be saying something different! Wow only 2 years of college, that certainly would go by quick! Here it takes 4 or 5 to get a bachelor’s, and then so many careers require masters now that there’s a good chance I’ll be in even more school. Thanks! 🙂

      • kindamixedup on said:

        Helpful, thank you!

        oh, i get it. probably in the us, what you call a bachelor’s degree is a college degree and then the first university degree is a master’s degree??

        I am curious to know given that I am contemplating studying in the US for a few months.

        • You’re welcome. 🙂

          Hmm I’m not sure because I’m not familiar with the college degree vs first university degree. If you go to community college for 2 years, which not everyone does, you can get an Associates Degree. Most get a Bachelor’s Degree in 4 years. (which if you do community college first will be 2 years community, 2 years at a four-year school, or if you don’t do community first it’s just 4 years at a four-year school) Then, if you want even higher education, you can get a Masters Degree, which takes 2-3 years about. Then you can get a Doctorate which is several years more schooling. There aren’t really certain schools for getting bachelors degrees vs masters, since most schools offer both.

          You’re studying in Canada right now right?

          • kindamixedup on said:

            Then, I am guessing that there isn’t really a distinction that is being made between university and college in the US. In canada, though, those are two very different things. Each canadian province has its own educational system.

            Yes, I am.

            • Yeah there’s not really much of a distinction, though in Canada that seems to be the case. This was something I found that explained it:

            • But then again, nobody here (in Quebec) uses this terminology (college as in “university is made of several colleges”) Now, I don’t know about the rest of canada. Concordia University (in Montreal, Quebec) has a Business SCHOOL, nobody calls it John Molson “college”. And, the thing is, here, a college can also be a private high school, or a public OR private post-secondary school (mandatory to go to university).

              Well. For the most part, mystery solved! 🙂 (wow, I had no clue canada was that much different from other countries in terms of the educational system!) thanks for the link.

  9. Glad things went so well, Brittany! Keep up the good work.

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