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"Freshman Discoveries"

First of all, I apologize for not updating the dates on the articles sometimes. This shouldn't cause too much confusion, but it leaves a bad impression, doesn't it?

So here I am, beginning to settle into my new home in Austin, Texas, after living in Dallas for more than ten years. That's more than half of my life! And now, just like that, I'm attending the University of Texas at Austin. I've yet to figure everything out, of course, as it's all so different than what I'm used to.

It took a long time to get here. Filling out all those pointless applications (Try writing something interesting about how you helped someone out! At least Princeton's application had a creative "potpourri" section for listing one's favorite things.) for big name schools who charge $50 or more for applications sure did wear my fellow seniors and me out. But I got into UT and I decided to go here.

Next, I had to move here by car. Bringing more stuff than I would ever need, I was prepared for the worst. It was comforting arriving at the apartment complex and seeing a nice room instead of the grungy Hell trap they have over there at the public dorm, Jester Center. Sure, the bathroom ceiling leaks when the people upstairs take a shower, and sure the person on call just says, "Well I'll tell them to stop showering so the dripping will stop in an hour." But besides that (and a dresser that had to be fixed, peeling labels, and whatnot), the room's quite comfortable.

I've wondered a few times how my parents are taking my leaving the house.

My roommate is from the same high school as I am, and he's just as stubborn as I can be. We have different music tastes, so when we argued about whether PJ Harvey is actual music or not, it got rather heated. He claimed she wasn't singing, but instead yelling, and he inquired why anyone would want to listen to something so cacophonous. I basically said "Eff off!" in more subtle terms, claiming every person finds a different type of music palatable. The issue has not really been resolved. I decided to hold my trump card -- I haven't criticized every one of his CDs like he has mine, yet. Nor have I used the stereo as much as he has.

Before that, we argued about the phone line. Yes, we quibbled over something as materialistic as a phone line. I'm a full-fledged 'Netizen, you see, and I demand that I am given time to just read my posts in silence. Yet he needs to talk to his girlfriend who lives somewhere else in the country. We had one phone line last week. See problems? And of course, he's been using the phone much more than I have.

I bring these up not to win an argument unfairly, nor do these situations illustrate any materialism on our parts. The fact is that living in the same room with another person for the first time in your life teaches you a lot. You have to learn to share and stop when you know you should. Unfortunately, I'm sharing more than I should right now, and that is the problem I'm having.

So here I am, having woken up at some God-awful early hour to wait for the Southwestern Bell guy to come (like an angel) and install a second phone line here... [Added later: The guy knocked and none of the people here heard him, so we have to wait *another* week to get the phone working.]

My classes are interesting, but not because of the students. As far as I can tell, the students aren't particularly bright and the professors encourage their ignorance by assuming they're in a non-engineering science class because they don't care.

Did your biology class teach evolution as a fact? Not that it bothers me -- it's actually refreshingly different. The class outline seems consistent with my views, that evolution has occurred, but we just don't know what set it in motion.

The rest of the classes are pretty much just basic required courses. I have a relatively light schedule and I should do well, so I'll have plenty of time to write and work on page design. So this is college life, eh?

The campus itself is as strange as Hemingway's personality. On the Drag, which is the big street with all the stores on it next to campus, old men try to give you Bibles and homeless people ask you for donations. Rich teeny-bopper kids roam the sidewalks, exchanging furtive glances with those of the opposite sex as they look for someone to manipulate in a relationship. The humidity last week was stifling, what with constant rain only yielding to glaring sunlight. Many parts of the campus are still unexplored.

You know, I've been thinking. There's just so much free time compared to high school. And when I stop to ponder it all, I realize that I'm not the type who goes out, parties, and gets drunk. Do you understand what a beam of light from Heaven this is?

Sure, I have to study a bit, but shoot, I can write until my carpal tunnels collapse into a mash of gooey tissue. I can read all those books I haven't gotten to. I can waste time mucking around on the 'Net. The possibilities for exploration are infinite.

I'm in college now and I finally have time and extrinsic motivation to learn and branch out! Now, I think, all that is needed is a bag of Oreo cookies to go along with my Neal Stephenson novel.

So this is college life, eh?

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