Several days have gone by since I arrived at the tiny, but mighty, Trumbull College. My exodus to Yale began when I received move-in instructions in early August and found out my great state of Texas was a “restricted state.” This meant that my parents would not be able to enter my residential college, and I would have to move in by myself. Thank you, Texans! Was this a blessing in disguise? Probably. When most of us think of moving into college, several heart-warming and bittersweet scenes from cheesy Hallmark movies come to mind. My move in was a bit different because sweat and anxiety about catching coronavirus were thrown into the mix.
I moved across the country on a sticky, hot day with nothing but two suitcases. My first flight from rural McAllen, Texas to Dallas, Texas, was packed. After take-off, I heard someone sneeze right behind me, and all I could do was pray for the flight to be over. As far as I was concerned, I was on the express lane to catching COVID-19 and getting quarantined once I arrived on campus. My mother was told that our suites would be cleaned before arrival, and let me tell you that my suite was anything but clean. If my mother, a clean freak, had seen the mess, the clothes, and the beer mug I inherited from the previous residents, she would have had a mini heart attack. I should have known not to wear new shoes while traveling, which left me with blisters. I also should have checked the weather before deciding to wear sweatpants on a boiling hot day. I arrived at the Trumbull gate drenched in sweat after a walk from Phelps Gate.
First up, COVID-19 testing! Did I catch the virus during that flight? I was about to find out. The next few hours of my first day in isolation were spent eating Yale Dining food and talking with my suitemates about my not so great experience. Amidst the chaos, I was thankful to be safe, healthy and about to devour some pre-packaged vegan meatballs. My first magical night in my dusty Trumbull suite was spent on the bare bed because the package with sheets, pillows and towels that I had ordered from the famous website OCM, had not yet arrived, and the air conditioning was nonexistent. Thankfully, a FroCo came to the rescue and let me borrow an extra pillow and blanket they had brought. I laid on the bed trying to make sense of it all. I am in New Haven. I am at Yale. I had looked forward to this moment for the past four years of my life, and this was it. The dynamics had completely changed. I traveled across the country by myself during a global pandemic. I felt the power of independence crippling my toes.
The next day, I awaited my test results along with my suitemates. Would this be the day that I got to leave my suite and explore the Potty Court —whoever named our courtyard was surely creative — and the rest of my college? After 36 hours of impatience, we received our negative results. We were now free-ish. First up, the dumpsters. The first thing my suitemates and I did after getting our negative results was throw away the crazy amounts of trash we’d accumulated in a few hours. We’d also run out of water and looked forward to re-filling our gallon jugs. The highlight of our day by far was getting to check out the laundry room, the coolest room in the college. We were all standing there in bliss, basking in the cool air. I had to drag my suitemates out of there since they were ready to bring their laptops to hang out in the laundry room. Then, we visited the dining hall to grab dinner to-go. My suitemates and I can all agree that the TikToks from New York University students had us worried about the quality of our school’s food, but to our surprise, all of the food we’ve tried during the quarantine has been delicious. The dining hall offers several sparkling water flavors, many vegan alternatives and tasty desserts. I never expected that moving into a castle would have been full of simple adventures. I was scared of the outcome, but now I am here. I am at home.
Alexa Pulido Rodriguez | firstname.lastname@example.org