When Jenna woke up the next morning, Carol was gone. She was surprised she hadn’t heard Carol get up, but she must’ve been too exhausted. The night before, after they finished dinner, Carol lightened up a bit and they watched an old movie on t.v., “The Breakfast Club.” Jenna barely knew who any of the actors were, but it was an “interesting perspective on detention in high school.” At least that’s what Carol said. Jenna just hoped the jock and the misfit actually went out on a real date afterwards.
After Jenna dressed, she spent almost a half an hour on her hair. It just didn’t look right. Admittedly, she primped a little in the mornings. Maybe she took longer than she actually needed. But this was her first day in college. Her first day! She wanted to look good. Damn good. But not even just damn good. She wanted to look right. Like a college student should look. She finally settled on a brown, tortoise barrette that pulled back a small part of her hair on one side of her head and face. The other side, as well as the rest of her hair, hung wispily down, free to bounce as it pleased.
Jenna, brand new purple backpack and fake designer purse in tow, took the elevator down to the lobby of the hotel. It was a little surreal starting her first day at college from a hotel. Before she went outside, she stopped in the lobby and opened her purse. She took out the printed piece of paper that had all her class information on it: what classes she was taking, where they were located, who the professor was and the time they started. After snapping her purse back shut, she clutched the piece of paper tightly and nervously made her way out of the hotel.
It was an awesome day. Just as she dreamt a first college day would be. It was sunny, but there were big, puffy white clouds lazily resting in and on the blue sky, leisurely shifting every couple of seconds. There was a slight breeze, which she now knew came from the Charles River thanks to her new room mate, Carol. After all, that’s where Carol would be rowing every morning.
Jenna made it up Commonwealth Avenue, the Green line of the Boston subway called the “T” also following her steps. The one thing Jenna did know about Boston was the “T.” Her parents had mentioned it to her, and she was used to taking the metro at home in D.C. Depending on where her dorm would be located, she figured she would most likely utilize the “T” on rushed or very cold days.
She continued walking along the sidewalks amongst other students going to classes, parents walking with children, adults in suits going to work and crowds rushing to “T” stops. It wasn’t really like a college campus. The college was embedded in the city, which was really neat. It was as if she was finally an adult. She figured people who looked at her might think she was a real adult with an apartment, a salary, maybe even a family. There were colleges like this in Washington DC, entrenched within the city neighborhoods, but Jenna had wanted to go somewhere out of town. Somewhere new. Somewhere with different and innovative people.
Jenna finally found the first building where her first class was. Freshman English. Or English 101. Upon opening the large, oak doors, that old school smell greeted her. She was used to that. The slippery linoleum tiles with small specs of green and tan in them. The heavy, wooden double doors that lead to hallways, classrooms, bathrooms and outside. The sterile chairs, clean because of their vinyl coverings. It was comforting, school was school, but, it was also exhilarating. It was the same feeling she got each year in the Fall when school started. But now she knew this was different. There were no school buses. No lockers in the hallways. No period bells. This was a place where you chose what time to get to class and how to get there. She breathed the musty smell in and proceeded to her English class.