By Faith Moritz Pauken
Two years and six days after my $30 Conair mirror kissed the concrete as I left my dorm on SW Jackson St., I would return to the same building I had originally entered as a freshman. Now, as a junior, I’ve moved out of my mom’s house and headed off to college twice. Internally telling myself, “take two.”
I came back to campus feeling even more out of place than the first time. You expect the freshman fiascos to occur like those written in films; eating ramen every other night or sleeping through classes. Losing your keys and ID card, low vitamin D, and not using an umbrella when it rains. Taking the wrong transit line to your appointment, or realizing you have $2.35 in your bank account and no money on your SNAP card. No one was going to tell me I would also be watching my class from another screen.
The adjustment from commuting 45+ minutes on the MAX to walking only five minutes everywhere was a luxury I anticipated, but the recent loss of my Beats headphones (R.I.P. wherever you are) made these walks filled with my own thoughts and commentary.
How different this space feels compared to the bedroom I took classes in for so long. I built a cave I became far too comfortable in surrounded by incense and lava lamps I can’t bring to my dorm. I have to create this new norm for myself that is, suddenly, thrown at me. I’ve been here for less than a week and my Capricorn sun is ashamed at how many things flew over my head.
How did I feel more ready for this when I was a mere 18? I forgot to pack a towel but somehow purchased $50 worth of melatonin and Dr. Teals so I can sleep before 3:00 a.m. I already missed a quiz in my class because I was fixated on pizza and the Stairmaster, how am I behaving less prepared than 2019 me?
But we allow ourselves grace even when we fall flat on our face. And I forgot how many people were here at PSU to pick me back up. I didn’t know when I would be coming back to campus so regularly there would be more opportunities to talk to people that also felt like Repunzel, locked in their tower. It gave me a sense of relief, that it’s alright if I feel like I took a few steps backward even though I have technically excelled academically. I suppose I can’t complain, being thrown into the deep end beats wading in a shallow pool for years.
About Faith: I’m a Portland State Junior from nowhere in particular, majoring in Communication, and here to inform you about every single thought that crosses my mind. I am an encyclopedia of uselessful information that may or may not pertain to you specifically, but nonetheless entertaining to read. When I am basking in my solitude, I fancy finding four-leaf clovers and wearing spikey shoes that threaten others.