August 22, 2017

TRAVELIN’ WITH JACQUELINE | Soundtrack to My Freshman Year

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This entire summer, I’ve been dreading the day that Fall 2017 starts because it will signal the beginning of the second half of my college experience. As I’m honing in on exactly what I should do at the start of this second half, I’ve been reminiscing and reconsidering all the things I did at the start of the first half, by which I mean: freshman year.

And so, I’ve decided to create a “greatest hits” article of my starkest memories from freshman year. Now, there’s really no rhyme or reason to my recollections, but I’m hoping you all will find at least one of them interesting if not entertaining!

Track 1: “Dirty Laundry” by Carrie Underwood

So I’m still not sure how long parents usually stay in Ithaca when sending off their newborn Cornellians, but my parents stayed for a week to eat and hike around Ithaca after they moved me in. Yup, a week (hey, I know someone whose parents were here for two weeks!)…which means they flew back to San Francisco after the first Friday of classes. I wouldn’t call myself a super emotional person, but I guess my parents’ staying for a week kept me from realizing that I was really going to be on my own in college. So when they were about to drive away in their rental car, my bottom lip started to quiver, and before you know it, I was crying, my mom was crying and we were a huge bawling mess of sweat and tears. I distinctly remember snorting up some mucus and saying to her, “But I still don’t know how to do my laundry!” to which my mom replied, “Oh, Tony (my dad), I feel like we’re just abandoning her!”

Two months and sixty pairs of underwear later, I did my first load of laundry.

Moral of the story: I have absolutely no shame.

Track 2: “Buzzin’ Fly” by Tim Buckley

Three days after I moved in, I had stayed up late watching a TV show, and just as I was about to head to bed, I heard it: the dreaded buzz of a fly, or worse—a mosquito. Or so I thought. Anyway, I proceeded to look around my room for the rogue fly and eventually decided to open my door, in the hopes that it’d just fly out. However, as soon I opened the door, the sound became louder, and with every step I took out of my room, I slowly realized that I was actually hearing la petite mort of a girl down the hallway, who had presumably gotten very lucky that night. I later mentioned this occurrence to a friend on my floor, who had said she’d heard the same thing, and that the lucky lady in question lived four rooms down from me.

Track 3: “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen

Before college, I’d never heard of Fall Break, much less February Break, so I hadn’t made any plans for that four-day weekend break. When I found out that Nghi and Veronica, two other girls I barely knew from my FWS, were also staying in Ithaca for Fall Break, we exchanged numbers and decided to hang out then. That Sunday, we (1) had Japanese for lunch, (2) walked along some back road with high traffic in order to get to the Cornell Orchards, (3) found out you can’t pick apples at the Cornell Orchards, (4) had impromptu photo shoots in Minns Garden and the middle of Tower Road and (5) realized we had walked fifteen miles! While Nghi had to meet up with some friends for dinner, Veronica and I went to Nasty’s for dinner and ended up hanging out for the entire night! And that is the story of how we became best friends. Also the story behind that thumbnail photo.

From the B-Side: “Surfin’ Bird” by The Trashmen

This isn’t from freshman year, but I’ll tell it anyway. Sophomore year, I lived on the eighth floor of McFaddin Hall, by which I mean the top floor of a West Campus Gothic, by which I mean no elevator. One spring day, a small bird had somehow gotten stuck on the eighth floor and was flying around in a panic. It had unclasped the window sill, but got trapped between the glass panes and the mesh meant to keep out insects. For a couple of minutes at a time, it’d flap it wings against the mesh, until it realized nothing would work and decided to fly around the ceiling.

Have I seen The Birds? No…not yet. Do I understand the sheer terror of trying to prevent a beak from getting in your face? Hell yeah. Add to that my pressing need to shower before heading to English class, and you get a towel-clad mess of a woman shrieking as she runs towards the bathroom.

P.S. I managed to open the window sill and unlock the mesh screen on my way out, so the bird should be alive and well.