A LOOK BACK AT MY TIME AT SJC – PART ONE

This week marks my last full week at St. John’s College. Before I move out, I thought I’d share some of my memories I have of this wonderful place. I’m not sure if there will be a part two, but here goes.

Right now, I’m feel completely comfortable here at SJC. This feels like home. This wasn’t the case at first, that’s for sure.

Nearly two years ago, I remember waiting until the very last day to move in for good at SJC. I moved most of my stuff during the weekend, but went back to my parents’ place afterwards. The Monday before school started was my first night at the College. I remember my mother had come to help clean my room (my folks love cleaning) and in the process she broke a desk lamp of mine that I had used all through undergrad. I thought that might have been a bad omen. It turns out the desk lamp they gave me at SJC was way better than my old crappy lamp. Heh.

I remember in the evening I was setting up my computer, when I discovered I made a serious mistake in my packing. I had forgotten to bring the power cable for my computer. I had all the cables set up, except I couldn’t get power to my computer. I felt so stupid. How do you forget something like that? Luckily, SJC partners you up with a “buddy” to show your around the College. I met my buddy, Ivette, on the weekend. So I went up to her and her fiancee’s room. I remember walking up the staircase and thinking, “This is the first time I’ve seen this staircase.” It seemed like a weird thing to think.

They didn’t have a spare cable for me, but Ivette’s fiancee, Mark was so helpful. He e-mailed the SJC newslist and asked if anyone could help me. This was my first exposure to the newslist and it definitely was not my last. I thanked them for their help and returned down to my room. Back then, I had really inadequate lighting, so I just unpacked in the dim room. Not minutes later, I heard a knock on my door. Some random dude I had never met was at my door with a computer cable. He told me he had an extra one and that I could use it. I thanked him profusely and promised to return it to him as soon as I got a new one.

This was my first brush with the generosity that I would see countless times over at the College. Incidently, the name of my mysterious saviour? None other than Jan Hanneman. We would eventually get to know each other in the coming months.

With Jan’s cable in hand, I was able to power up my computer. I was quite excited to be finally on ResNet. Shortly after I finished my undergrad, UBC let all UBC residents have free Internet access on ResNet. I felt I got left out. I finally got my chance to try it out. After doing some random downloads, I saw that it was just as fast as ADSL, if not much faster in some cases.

I had done enough unpacking for one night and I didn’t know anyone there, so I just played Team Fortress Classic on-line. A clear sign that grad school wasn’t going to be anything like undergrad, I noticed I had absolutely no committments on the first day of school: no classes, no tutorials, and no meetings. Sweet. I played TFC until 2am when I thought I better get some rest.

As I crawled into my new bed and turned out the lights, I became immediately aware my life had taken a completely new direction. You’re most of aware you’re in a different place when you’re in a strange bed. As I stared into the darkness at my ceiling, I heard my old mini-fridge start up its motor. I had that fridge for three years during undergrad. The sound of that motor had been seared into my brain. That sound triggered many memories of years past. It was then I finally realized what I had done. I had returned to UBC to do a graduate degree, and here it was the night before the first day of my new life. I began to think, “What the hell have I done? I’m lying here in residence again as a student once more. Meanwhile, my dinky little fridge from undergrad is making that crappy noise like it always has. Geez, what the hell have I done?”

My mind was full of doubt that first night. While the doubt did eventually disappear, it didn’t happen overnight. That was, however, what happened on my first night here at SJC.

Incidently, I added a whole bunch of lighting to my place and I’m really happy with it. And that dinky fridge? I sold it and I have a much larger (and quieter!) one now. It’s all good in the end.

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