Arrival Day

by Calvin M.

It’s been a few days after arrival (it feels like it’s been weeks), but I’ve been assigned to blog about it. I left my home of Toledo, Ohio Saturday afternoon, stayed the night in West Virginia, and arrived at Chapel Hill right around 3 pm on Sunday.  My mom was in a rush to catch a flight for a vacation she was taking while I’m away at SSP, so when we arrived in the Old East parking lot, she greeted Dr. Ice, handed me my bags, hugged me goodbye, and sent me off towards the waving hands and charming smiles of the TAs. After watching Joel vigorously slide our name cards into our lanyards, getting our room keys, and unpacking, me and the other new arrivals were gathered by the TAs and sent off on a scavenger hunt around the UNC campus. The objects of the hunt were various buildings around campus that were important to the program like the observatory, Chase dining hall, Phillips Hall (where we have class time), and locations like the sports field where we could spend our free time. The final destination of the scavenger hunt was the dining hall, where we proceeded to eat dinner and be warned against maintaining a diet consisting only of Chase pizza. After dinner, we gathered in the quad outside of our dorm for orientation, playing games like, “To all my participants who,” where we got to learn about each other but mostly about Aman. The professors also introduced themselves and the program, and Dr. Ice set out the rules of the dorm. No matter how delirious or sleep deprived I might manage to get during this program and no matter how distant our arrival date seems to become after so many long days of work, I don’t think I’ll ever forget how Dr. Ice walked to the front of the group, paused as our applause for her died down, turned directly to face me, looked me in my eyes, and uttered the words, “Your mom is my hero. She just came here, kicked you out on the curb, said to me ‘he’s the youngest of five kids he doesn’t need me,’ and sped away.” I wouldn’t say that I was mortified in that moment, but I definitely learned something about Dr. Ice that day: she is not afraid to say anything. 

After orientation me and a couple of participants hung out in the lobby and played a couple rounds of Exploding Kittens. We had a fun night of friend-making and competitive camaraderie; it really was a good time. We had no idea what was in store for us in the days to come. 

About Me:

Hello! I’m Calvin! During the day you can find me playing soccer, studying with friends, performing in orchestra, or curling up in bed with a good book. During the night you can find me sleeping.