Don't worry, there's one more blog post left before you need to cry. This one is dedicated to the three weeks, the amazing, fantastic, emotional three weeks that I spent with people that put my life in a new perspective. How should I say this? I can’t say I loved every moment that I was in Chicago, because that’s impossible anywhere, and I’d be lying if I said that. But I can say I learned from every moment was in Chicago, and not just from the knowledge I attained in class. I learned that there so, so much more to the world itself and the people in this small but gargantuan world than I could know. If there ever was a way to expand your horizons, part with what you think is home for a month with a couple hundred people who know as little as you do, and come back with the realisation of how much you have never seen. How many people you have never seen. How different the people you’ve never seen are.
You’re stuck in the middle of people whose vernacular is subtly or extremely different from yours, where water fountains are called bubblers and Chicago is pronounced Chicahgo. And you decide. This -- this is where you should be. In the center of a whirlwind of intelligence and culture and everything that you’ve ever wanted in a school. And these are the friends you’ve made, and the friends that you’ll leave, and the friends that you might, just might, stay in touch with because for these three weeks these people have become your everything. In these twenty-one days that you have spent with strangers -- they are no longer strangers. They were important people, so important that you sprint in flip flops for, that you stay up until 3am talking about problems for, that you wake up early for, and on the other hand, inspire you, stay with you, guide you, and push you.
I’d like to think I’m a relatively social person, and boy, did this summer show it. I don’t think I was ever alone, unless it was by choice. I made my first friend on our shuttle to orientation, Lucia, and unintentionally managed to meet her at Taste of Chicago the first Sunday (aka, the first, and probably only, day that people didn’t have friends yet) before classes started. I’m not counting orientation, because people made a lot of “friends” during orientation, but they usually weren’t the ones people ended up keeping. From there, friend groups expanded and shifted and I met my bestie of the trip, Doris, in our RA group.
I don’t know why I wasn’t scared. It just wasn’t a place to be. When you’re with 500 other strangers that know as little about you as you know about them, you can be anyone. I know a couple people who changed their names for these three weeks, because why not? New place. New person. I also have to say when I walked into my room for the first one, how utterly disappointed I was. The door opens, my breath is held in anticipation, and I let out a deep, grievous sigh, seeing only one bed in the room. Having no roommate honestly was my greatest regret of the trip; did I really get the full, UChicago experience? The RA ice breakers were honestly almost useless -- the majority of my friend group began with us taking out our luggage of a storage room. There, Mauricio and I met Aaron, who along with Shiv, Shravan, Eddie, Jim, Alice, Ryan and Kevin Zhang, created a group that called for one of the main ties of friendships. Other friendships with Kathy, Nicole, and Kevin Chi. Nikolai, Teague, Katerina, Kathryn, Giovanna, Celine, Kain, Aileen, Sarah, Angie, Angela, Felicity, Steven. Tom, Emma, Angelica, Alice Bell, Holly, Lawrence, Hannah. Siva, Kevin Zong, Sophie, Shreya. Lucia. Jessica. Doris. So many more that I can't name and yet, all made each of my days, each of my twenty-one days at UChicago incredibly interesting.
For some reason, I woke up in the mornings early than I generally do in the summer (crazy, because I don't wake up in the mornings. Ever. It's 1PM when I wake up, if you let me sleep), and ate breakfast, even on the weekends. Oh wait, I know the reason. I had something to look forward to, because I didn't want to waste a single hour (though that was inevitable) of my time in Chicago. I did my own laundry for the first time (lol, I know, it's sad), though it wasn't a very extraordinary process. I know I grew as a person -- and I've figured a few things about thoughts over these three weeks. Honestly, I am incredibly grateful for this experience.
To a summer I'll never forget.
I think I should put pictures here, but I'm not quite sure which ones yet.