Introducing guest bloggist Charlie Greenwald
August 13, 2013
My son Charlie headed back to Emerson for his sophomore year this week. While it wasn’t as traumatic for his parents as last year — which I wrote about here — it was still pretty darn hard, because I just love the kid so much, and I’m going to miss his company.
The first night he was there, my wife Cathy asked him to write about his feelings going back, both so he could have something to do on his first night there (barely anybody was around since he had to go early for RA training), and also so we could really get a sense of his state of mind, satisfy our own curiosity, and alleviate our concerns that he was lonely. He wrote this, which made us feel better. I asked him if I could put it on my blog. He said yes. So here it is:
Back to School
Today, I went back to school.
After over 3 months, I returned to Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. I moved in and kissed my parents goodbye for the second time in less than a year. Much of it was identical to last year: the beautiful August day, the exact 3-hour drive up, and my bittersweet emotions. But a lot of it was different.
For starters, I am a Resident Assistant this year. I applied last year and was lucky enough to be given a spot. According to Wikipedia, this means that I am a “trained peer leader who supervises those living in a residence hall or group housing facility.” In order to prepare for this vital and powerful position, I have to go through 2 weeks of training—almost like boot camp. I’m excited about my new responsibilities and the perks that come with it, but I’m also nervous. I have to be both a disciplinarian and a confidante. I have to be available to my students as often as possible. I have to lay down the law but also be approachable and understanding. I have to design community events to spread awareness about serious issues in a lighthearted and creative way. It’s a tough job, but I’m prepared to take it on headfirst.
Aside from my new responsibilities that provided some intense anticipation, I made a serious mistake this year packing too little. Last year, I packed way too many clothes, blankets and toiletries. I had enough Q-tips to last me a lifetime and enough toothpaste to clean a sidewalk. Naturally, I decided to learn from last year’s precautionary errors and pack much less this year—forgetting things I should have remembered. I left behind several bed sheets, pillows, the always-necessary Aquaphor and the ever-important rug that ties the room together. Just because I had 5,000 band-aids last year doesn’t mean I only had to pack 2 this year. So I banged my head against a wall because of that. But, despite that misstep, I also thought to pack some cool new things, like a lamp, a new fan and a small television. Things are definitely looking up; I just need a few more pairs of boxers. Plus, my mom can send up a rug with my friend when arrives in a few weeks.
Finally, the main difference this year was returning to campus with a sense of geography and comfort. I recognized the shimmer of the buildings, the squeak of the closet doors that don’t fit nearly enough stuff, the friendly smile of the security guards and the Boston city streets pulsing with life. It’s really nice to be back. I look forward to seeing all my friends, learning cool new things in my classes, and doing imaginative and inspired things outside of school with people who like what I like. I miss the beauty and familiarity of my fantastic hometown and all of the beautiful faces that I call home, but I know that they will be there for me when I need them.
I took a deep breath, called my parents, and then began to fall asleep.
In another bed, but not another world. Not anymore.