The Thankful Project: Day 3

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Look, it's before midnight on Day 3 and I'm blogging for the prompt! An equally exciting announcement? I finally ironed some pants that have been sitting on our drying rack for the last ten days. Someone should be on their way to my house with a cookie, right? No? Oh, well... can someone bring me some aloe vera gel?

This is why we can't have nice things. Like ironed pants.
Anyway, burn aside, ironing is done and now I can wear pants to work... which I'm sure everyone appreciates. So, I'm thankful for irons and being able to wear pants. And now on to Day 3!

Day 3: A place

I must sound like a broken record, but there are so many places that I'm thankful to have visited and seen and lived in. However, I think that one of my very favorite places is one I was in for only 9 months. That place is Wittenberg University.

This is Meyers Hall, the first building constructed on campus in 1845. It's now a dorm and it's pretty much in the center of campus. I didn't live here my freshman year; I lived in South Hall, which was the "substance free" dorm (ha ha, I know, right?) and that building has since been knocked down because it was full of asbestos and also was about a billion years old. Nevertheless, South Hall was my home for 9 months and my freshman year at Witt brought some of my favorite people into my life.

How did I end up in Springfield, OH at a school whose student body was smaller than that of my high school? Well, I wanted to get out of New Jersey and away from my mother (what 18 year old doesn't?), and Wittenberg had just built a gorgeous science center. Not even kidding, the fact that each student got their own glassware for the semester made me giddy inside. Pretty sure that sealed my nerd-fate. Anyway, I applied and went to Ohio on a bus with my mom to take a tour (spoiler alert: Don't take a Greyhound bus to Ohio.) I  loved the campus and decided to audition for a music scholarship. I flew out by myself, stayed with a random student, and played a terribly nerve-wracking audition, despite the fact that it was only for a single professor. Apparently, it went well, because they threw half of my tuition at me in music scholarships and poof, I was suddenly going to be attending a tiny, liberal arts university in the middle of nowhere. I was STOKED.

That August, my mom and I drove out to Springfield (which is a tiny town about halfway between Dayton and Columbus). We moved my stuff into my TINY dorm and made it as home-like as possible. I also met my best friend that week. I was wandering up and down our hallway introducing myself as people moved into their dorms and I walked into a room a few doors down from mine. "Hi, I'm Alison, I'm from New Jersey!" I said. A tiny red-headed girl stood up from the floor and said, "I'm from New Jersey, too! And you're little like me!" That tiny, red-head? Sarah.

Little Friend!
We became inseparable and even after I transferred, we stayed extremely close. We were in each other's weddings, have managed to see each other about once a year, and send each other crazy things in the mail. She is one of my favorite people on this planet and without Wittenberg, I wouldn't have met her.

Later that same week, I met someone who I had been talking to online for awhile before I got out to Wittenberg. Her name was Emily, and if I knew then that she would be the best roommate I would ever have, I would have done a dance of joy and made her move in a LOT sooner than she did. We both had pretty horrendous first-semester roommates, but the day she moved into South was a day for celebration (and lots of hauling boxes between our dorms). Emily was an eternally-calming presence in my life, and in fact, continues to be one. She is one of the kindest, warmest, most loving people I have ever met, and I don't know how she put up with my insanity. She was my reading buddy, my knitting buddy, my snuggle buddy, my "stop freaking out and go dance outside in the rain with me" buddy. She kept me sane throughout my first year, and without her, I don't know if I would have made it. Again, without Wittenberg, our friendship wouldn't exist, and that would be a tragedy.

My Memily!
Lastly, I had some amazing professors at Wittenberg. I also had some crazy professors at Wittenberg ::coughcoughDR.YODERcoughcough:: but we won't talk about them here. My Gen Chem II professor, Dr. Finster, was definitely my favorite, though. He was goofy and nerdy and also brilliant, and he made chemistry fun. He was also a musician and his daughter played the bassoon, and somehow, I ended up accompanying her at a solo competition because he needed a pianist. When I left Wittenberg, I was so sad that I wouldn't see him again. However, we emailed and kept in touch, and when he was in Philly last year for the American Chemical Society meeting, he emailed me and we got together for dinner. It was really fun and totally not weird, and I am so thankful that Wittenberg gave me the opportunity to make a lasting connection with such a cool guy.

Dr. Finster!
So, even though Wittenberg wasn't my "forever" college home, it seriously left a mark on my heart. There are so many people that I met who made that year so special, and who made the bad parts of that year better (and trust me, there were quite a few of those, haha). I will always miss how the campus looked in the fall... and the spring... but I will not miss climbing up the giant hill in an ice storm to get to class. I will not miss the mostly-terrible dining hall food, or the stupid people who pulled the fire alarm at 2 am, but I will miss the late nights talking with my best friends, the hours spent making music with the professors and students, and yes, having my own glassware in the lab. Wittenberg touched my heart, and I will always be thankful for the friendships it brought me.

On that note, I am going to go to bed because tomorrow begins another week. Good night, all!

- A

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