Garrett Looker is a junior journalism major and writes "Finding Beneficence" for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Garrett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On my first day at Ball State University, I was alone. I didn’t know anyone. I had no lifeline, no rope to cling to. Strangers shouldering boxes as they walked by.
I stood in the center of my room. The door was propped open with a teal binder. Remnants of my pre-adolescent life were strewn all around the room as I waited for the feeling of college to hit me.
I was finally where I knew I was supposed to be. My entire life was there in that room with me, past and future. I was home.
Sunlight poured through the open window behind me, filling the 192 square feet of space that felt so much bigger than it actually was. I waited for something to happen, something to mark the moment, my memory as a freshman.
The knock came from the metal frame of the open door. A small, peculiarly round head wearing an oversized Indianapolis Colts flat-bill bobbed out from what seemed to be nowhere. He was wearing glasses, looked funny, and seemed to have a sense of “I know more than you,” kind of attitude. Then he popped the question.
“What time do you shower?”
There was no pause, no time for me to gather my thoughts. In an instant, all of the nostalgia of college was blown away.
It was a question I never saw coming. He stood there with a blank stare on his face, beady eyes behind black glasses. I stuttered and shifted my weight to my other leg. How could this be a question? After all of the work, the preparation from high school, how could this be the first question I face in my “adult life”?
“What time do you shower?” He repeated himself.
It became awkward. The moment stretched out, and time seemed to slow down. How long had he been standing there? Had he even said his name? God, is this my RA?!
“I, uhh, I usually shower in the morning… But yeah, I have a few morning classes, so I guess in the mornings usually, but I guess it varies sometimes…” I stumbled over my words.
He stood there, shook his head, scratched his chin, and said, “Sure, yeah, I guess that’s fine. I was just wondering what everyone’s schedules looked like since we’ll all be sharing a bathroom together.”
It was at this moment that I desperately tried to tune him out. But like Superman’s inability to see through lead, this floating piece of Wonder Bread was impervious to my powers. He droned on.
He couldn’t tell I was suffering. All I could muster with my thought process was that this guy was looking to form the League of Extraordinary Bathroom Mates.
Before I knew it, Buckwheat had shuffled along, probably on to the next poor sap down the hall, destined to be drafted into the Shower Nozzle Brigade.
Wherever he had gone, I knew one thing: I wasn’t going to be around him. That’s right, it was the first day, and I had decided to exile the very first person I ever met at college.
That moment took place two years ago. It was my grand welcoming to Ball State.
His name was Nick, and contrary to what I thought at the moment, we are now great friends. We were neighbors that year in DeHority, and regardless of my attempts, I bumped into him a few times. I guess it was for the better that I stuck around.
He was nervous that day, just as I was. Just as you might be. It was a new world, a new set of endless opportunities. How could we have not been filled with nerves and excitement?
The fact is, I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything else. It was memorable. It stands out to me as the moment I came to college.
This place isn’t about the classes we take or the degrees we pursue. It’s about the memories we create with the people we share our lives with.
This moment isn’t only for freshmen. It is a moment for all of us, even the studious individuals who are returning for their 5th, 6th, or maybe even their 9th year.
It’s your life. Make the most of it.
Remember the insane, crazy moments that fill our years at Ball State.
Take advantage of all there is to see and do.
Be who you are. Live boldly.
Most importantly, knock on your neighbor’s door and share your story with the world. But maybe this time, don’t ask them when they shower.