Thursday, November 02, 2006

My Freshman Experience

Something today at work, I can't remember what, made me think of my freshman college semester. Note, I didn't say year...

I went straight from high school to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. I went there to study theatre design. I had a dream of becoming a set and lighting designer. That dream quickly ended when I realized that at the end of 4 years I would have more than $100,000 in debt and a degree with little likeliehood of being able to pay that off in my lifetime. My parents also raised me to be very conscious of going into debt, so that much debt scared me.

But, anyway, in that semester I had a very interesting freshman experience. CMU was a GREAT school. It has such an amazingly diverse student body. With exceptional programs in both the sciences and the arts, including acting and musical theatre, you get this crazy variety of students. It's a lot of fun to walk around and see such diversity of not only races, but student types (geeks, MTs (musical theatre, a whole other type of crazy), actors, artists). I had friends in the theatre department and in the computer science program. One of my very closest friends from high school, who I happened to be dating at the time, also went to CMU for computer science, so I made a lot of friends in his crew. It was great. That was one part of my freshman experience.

The other thing that sticks out the most in my memory from that semester was the last two/three weeks of school. I got so ridiculously sick one of my friends asked me if I was going to die. And my honest answer at that point was "I'm not sure". It started as we were getting ready for finals. I was part of a set building crew, so a lot of my time was being spent in the wood shop. One day in wood shop my ears started feeling funny. Then they started hurting. By the end of our session in the shop the only way I was comfortable was if I was bending over with my head hanging upside down. I got back to my dorm room and asked my friends what they thought I should do. They suggested I ask the Resident Advisor. So, I went over to the RAs room. She thought we should call Campus EMS since it was too late for any normal doctor's office to be open. Campus EMS guy had no idea what was going on, so he had one of the Campus cops take me down to the UPitt ER. I sat around at the ER for almost two hours to find out I had an ear infection. WHAT?! Who gets ear infections as an adult? I used to get ear infections all the time as a kid, but I thought this was crazy. Well, I got medicine and went on my way. Boy, did I realize why kids scream so much when they have an ear infection, they hurt.

I think it was within a day or two of the ear infection being diagnosed that I started getting sick. It was just a general sick feeling at first. Then I just felt awful. Then I couldn't keep any food down for almost two weeks straight. Seriously, I would wake up, try to eat, then within an hour it was back up. Same with anything else I tried to eat all day. I was so sick that my drafting professor sent me back to my room during class one day. I LOVED my theatre design classes, particularly drafting, so I didn't want to miss any of them being sick. But, I left the class for a few minutes to go to the bathroom and got sick. When I got back he was all "are you okay" and I told him I'd be fine, but he knew I was lying and sent me away. That got me a little concerned about how sick I was, I kinda figured college professors would never do something like that.

So yeah, I spent a lot of my freshman semester throwing up, but sadly it had nothing to do with any partying or anything at all fun like that.


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