This is my first blog post composed as a citizen of Columbus, Ohio. I’m currently writing this in a small café about three blocks away from my new place, at an intellectual crossroad, excited and eager to start my new program, while slightly lachrymose, thinking about all of the things I will miss due to this change. It’s a difficult transition, specifically due to the small differences people take for granted when moving to a new city. A few hours ago, I jay-walked across High Street, a street with fairly heavy traffic, and cars stopped, as well as everyone walking by who saw me; they all stopped to see what I did, as if I committed an egregious crime. Technically, I did, but in LA, no one treats this as a problem. These little intricacies aren’t serious offenses, but when they add up, you feel like you don’t belong.
But I don’t wish to write this to dismiss this city, or signaling any resentment; on the contrary, moving is a process that requires you to learn, adapt, and expand your comfort level. This includes learning the customs, the people, and what makes Columbus…Columbus. My first class starts next week. I wish to take this week and really acclimate. I want to meet people, get to know where chill, meet other grad students who know the area, or also grad students who are as nervous with starting a new program as I am. I’m looking forward to the books I’m going to read, and the new classes I’ll be taking. My advisor is an amazing scholar, and I’ve met a few grad students in the program and they are all great. Fitting into a grad school is like finding where that weird puzzle piece fits- it’s not easy, and you’re going to spend a long time finding it, but when you do, it fits perfectly, because it’s supposed to.
Right before I left, I had one goal- see as many people (and go to as many concerts [music is a big deal for me- read all about that here) as possible before moving. I had a small get-together the week before leaving. While I was prepping, a small part of me felt like I was seeing them for the last time, like I’m setting up my last meal. But the more I hung out with them, the more they reminded me that I am definitely not seeing them for the last time. This is what social media, phone calls, even this silly blog, is for. Staying connected during this time is exactly what I will need. We drank (SIdenote: I was bartending that night, and I loved it 🙂 ), we socialized, we caught up, told horrible jokes, but most importantly, we formed a small friend-based ecosystem that will fuel my academic career. The theme of the party: Let the Good Time Be-Gin, because I’m looking forward to sharing all of these good times with my friends (and because I’m a gin aficionado). Growing up, there was a saying I heard dozens of times around friends and family that went, “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll show you who you are”. Looking back at that night, and looking forward to sharing all of these stories from OSU with them, I see it differently: “Knowing who my friends are helps me remember who I am”.