Monday, August 29, 2011

The Big Day Arrives

August 29, 2011

I've been putting off this post actually, because I'm still a little bit in denial. My baby has gone--all moved out and living in quite another city. This past weekend was dorm room move-in date at San Diego State, so we stacked all of her I-Can't-Possibly-Live-Without-This items into the van and headed south.

On Friday, we moved her in. She met her roommate, Anna, with whom she hit it off right away. They had introduced themselves on the phone, but this was their first face-to-face encounter. They bonded over fruit snacks, a love of scarves, and all things theater. An auspicious beginning. She's from Visalia, so they might be traveling buddies as well, when it's time to venture homeward--Visalia is on the way to Clovis from San Diego. We also met up with her good friend from BHS, Jeff, who as luck would have it is only a few doors down from her in the dorm. They're both in the Honors Program at SDSU, so they already knew they'd been in the same dorm. It was nice to see a familiar face there. His whole family was there as well, and they were very helpful in getting Bree's stuff transported into her room. (There is no elevator in her dorm, unfortunately, so there was climbing of stairs with heavy boxes involved. Thank you for the assist, Erickson Family!)

These are the 'before' pictures of her dorm room.

The most important part of dorm room decor? The pictures of friendly faces from home.

After she got all settled and mostly unpacked, we ate dinner and then I got on the road to Lisa's house. It would be Bree's first night in her new 'home.' A little surreal. They had a dorm floor meeting, and ice-breakers and such, and she got to know some of the kids she'll likely be spending most of her days with as the semester and year progresses. She and Anna filled out their roommate ground rules--an assignment from the R.A.--and found they are even more similar than it first appeared. My favorite thing about the roommate ground rules was that they had to discuss how they were going to handle any conflicts that might come up. They mutually decided that talking it out was a pretty acceptable form of resolution, but should they come up against some really tough conflicts, they'd handle them in a Dance-Off. They actually wrote it into their contract like that. I assume the R.A. would be the judge in these situations. If she ever calls home complaining about trouble with Anna, that's the first thing I'm going to ask--who won the Dance-Off? I'm going to hold her to that. I'm pretty sure all the kids in the dorm stayed up well into the night Friday, reveling in new-found independence. They also got to experience their first evacuation drill in their new home, as someone pulled the alarm in the middle of the night. Ah, college!

The next morning I rejoined her for the Band Run and SDSU Convocation. It was a nice ceremony, with the presentation of the respective major-candidates to the heads of their departments, and the welcoming of the newest Aztecs and their families. We didn't do anything like that when I was in college; I thought it was a good way to set the tone and make our entrance into the SDSU family an official one. Afterward, we went to lunch with Jeff's family, and then, before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye.

It's probably a good thing that there was a long line to check-in at the dorm's front door. (All guests must be checked in and out as a safety precaution.) We knew we didn't really have time to get checked in AND checked back out before Bree had to attend a mandatory dorm floor meeting. Instead, time creeping up on us, we opted for a hug and kiss and an I'm-so-proud-of-you out in the front walkway. There was no time, nor was it the place, for the long, emotional farewell she might have been subjected to if I had gone up to her room. She turned and was gone, and I headed back to my car. Alone. Trying not to dwell on the fact that the longest I had ever been apart from my first-born was ten days, and now I wouldn't see her for at least sixty.

I couldn't be too mired in nostalgic sadness, though, when she called me two hours later, excited to tell me about her plans. First of all, she was on her way on foot (no car for this college student) to the grocery store. She'd decided she wanted to carry on her tradition of being the Friend Who Routinely Provides Baked Goods To Her Friends, and was on a mission to bake 'Welcome to Campus' brownies for her floor mates. She'd decided it would be a good way to meet everyone face-to-face, by knocking on doors and introducing herself (brownies in hand, naturally). This is SO Brianna! It's one of the things I'm so in awe of about her--her openness and friendliness, and willingness to put herself out there. If it were me, I'd have been so shy I would have holed myself up in the dorm room with a book until my first class on Monday morning. Not my Bree, though! Second, they had asked for a volunteer to be Hall Planner, which essentially is the Hospitality Committee for the dorm, as far as I can tell. Again, a great fit for her. Although she admitted it felt a little intimidating to volunteer for something like that right off the bat (without really knowing the vast majority of the students yet), she again thought it would be a great way to get involved and meet lots of people. Finally, one of the other dorms had had an electrical failure, and several newly arrived students are being displaced for several days while the school makes its repairs. They asked if any of the students in her dorm would be willing to host a displaced student, and Bree and her roommate readily volunteered. The more the merrier in their welcoming little abode!

She's quite the social butterfly, that one. Or, to mix metaphors, she's taking to college life like a fish to water. Oh wait--that's mixing metaphors and similes...but I digress.

In addition to planting herself firmly in the social scene of Maya Dorms, Bree is loving being so close to all of her step-sisters. Kim and Liz both went to school at SDSU, and Morgan just transfered as junior. All of them live quite close to campus. On Friday night, Morgan picked Bree up after she got off of work, and the two of them just drove around, eventually finding some place to eat that was still open in the middle of the night. They also went to eat brunch together on Sunday, and went to a local church. Bree's roommate asked if she could go along as well, since she wasn't from around there and didn't know the churches. In the afternoon, Bree and Anna came back to campus and scoped out where their classes were, in preparation for the first day of classes on Monday. Her whole weekend was filled, which is just the way she likes it.

Although I couldn't be more thrilled for this exciting new chapter in her life, I would be lying if I said I wasn't going to miss her at home tremendously. (If she's reading this, she's probably rolling her eyes, because, honestly, do I think she's going to live at home forever? No, kiddo, it's not that I think you're going to live at home forever. But still....transition and all. You have something you are moving toward--something very cool and exciting--and I'm just missing a piece of a family that has been whole until now. It's an adjustment.) But adjust we will--I will--and I'll look forward to hearing more about the new worlds opening up to her at San Diego State.
Go Aztecs! (I can say that--I'm an Aztec Mama now!)

Brianna's first Facebook status after her first day of college classes:

Today involved funny professors who make me giggle, finding Gushers in the Student Store, an epic Twister game, a spontaneous dance party, and plenty of Phineas and Ferb fruit snacks. I like college. (:

I think she's going to be just fine....

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