Facts you should know about me.
- I am 35 years old.
- I have lived in my own apartment for the last 7 years.
- I have lived alone for the last 3.5 years.
- The last share house I occupied with more than 3 people was in London. In 2003.
- The last time I had a “big night” was 18 months ago in a French ski resort. Before that, I can’t even remember. All my friends have children.
This is what I knew when I signed up to live on campus.
- I would probably be put in an all girl apartment.
- I might be put with other international students.
- I would definitely be put with other graduate students.
- A graduate student can be as young as 22 or 23.
And the universe has dished out a full complement of these options.
I was slightly petrified when I received welcome emails from two of my three future room mates upon my arrival in the US. The emails, each of which had a lovely upbeat, and enthusiastic tone, included their ages (23 and 24) alongside phrases such ‘Facebook stalking’, ‘frozen margaritas’ and a quote from the film Mean Girls. Reading them delivered my first real “What the $#%@ have I done?” moment. To add further anxiety, I discovered that all three of my new room mates had lived together last year. They had such a great time they signed up to live together again! I was about to become one ‘intruders’ tossed into the Big Brother house 6 weeks into the series. The one everyone hates because they disturb the previously achieved harmony of the group.
I thought about calling the uni and cancelling my housing assignment. I checked the housing contract and discovered that I was 12 hours past the cancellation date and to back out now would mean a 50% forfeit of my rent for the entire semester. I then thought about ringing and begging for a new room assignment. One with people who are at least old enough to remember the 1980s. But what if that conversation revealed what I suspected? That no one who remembers the 80s chooses to live on campus. Only losers.
Seriously. What. Have. I Done? Trying not to panic, I slept on it.
The break of day (and I mean literally dawn due to a 4:30am jetlag-induced wake up) brought a new perspective. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A chance to make friends with Gen Y-ers rather than being their teacher. A chance feed off the enthusiasm of young women with their whole lives ahead of them. I wanted to ‘shake my life up’ and ‘meet new people’ and ‘have a change of scenery’. It appears I have received exactly what I asked for. If nothing else, the antics of our household (23, 24, TBC and 35) is sure to make ripe material for blogging.
And on second thought, the frozen margaritas sound kind of fun.