I feel like I have to write a reflection piece before I forget the feels. How apropos that it happens to be my one month anniversary of being here. I feel like it might be 100% appropriate to write about this on my public blog and that the likelihood of even you seeing this might be slim. But I might repost parts of it, so excuse that.

So here’s the shakedown:

  1. I have moved into my apartment. The situation is better than I thought it would, it could be better, it could be worse. It’s likely I’ll stay here both years because moving would be the biggest pain.
  2. I have done orientation events here which were tremendously boring, but part of the grad school experience, I am told. I met two people that I still talk to (though who knows how often you talk to the people you meet on the first week). Their names are Tulsi and Nora. He is from Pakistan and she is from Canada. One of my clients has also introduced me to his niece, Diya, who I enjoy as well. We’ve had lunches, brunches, movies, dinners, improv show and gone to an outdoor yarn-bridge art exhibit thing.
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  3. I also met everyone in my program. In the incoming class of design students, there are 15 of us. Seven in my specific program, and eight in the Interaction Design program, who we have many of our classes with.
  4. I have had all but one of my classes so far.
  5. I am TA-ing a class of master’s students.

Ok, so those are the facts.

My teachers are impressive, personable, and passionate. The more I learn about the program the more I am confident I am in the program that I want to be in and that will really feed my interests. I, however, am not actually confident in my ability to succeed and this self-doubt is not fun. I feel like no one shares my anxiety or they’re not forth-coming with sharing it even if I bring it up first. Is it really just me? I feel like I’m dumbest person in class most of the time.

I feel like there’s not growing out of being the quiet one that everyone thinks is mean. I also don’t feel connected to of the other students. I know we just met, but there’s not that instantaneous “lets be friends” thing that happens every now and then. It makes me kind of dread the the year and then the year after that. Everyone wants to feel like they belong to a group and I have to wait and be patient and remember that I’m a difficult person to meet at first.

Some of them I’m not even sure I want to be friends with. You know what I mean. I think maybe it’s this stressful time when everyone is trying to impress everyone else or maybe I am just hyper-aware to the point of mis-diagnoses of potentially annoying behavior (definitely the latter, if use historical evidence).

I’m just a little worried, I think, in general about how the year is going to look. Something feels a little off to me. I don’t like Pittsburgh that well and with out the support of friends it’s hard to for the days to go smoothly either. Especially when all the bother of life keeps getting splattered in my face and I feel like I’m constantly cleaning up messes.

I don’t know…maybe I’m just sad about a lot of things and I’m waiting for the cloud to leave my vision.

On the other hand, I can’t believe I got into Carnegie Mellon. I keep spontaneously remember that it was my top choice and the more I get into the meat of classes the more I feel so fortunate that I’m here. But also—Why did they let me in?!  They only let seven people in and then chose ME? Everyone else I’ve heard talks about the school with a shrug and indifference. It wasn’t their top school, but it was  a school, so they decided to go. And I’m like “WHAT?!”

It’s things like that that make me feel like I can’t relate to the other students. Like, I went to an inexpensive undergraduate state university in a barely-populated state after going to a public high school. (I remember at my first orientation I had dinner with three girls who all happened to have gone to private schools their whole life). I remember feeling embarrassed telling people that CMU was my dream school. Like there would be that pause in their eyes as they thought “Aww, poor deluded girl.” For one exercise we had to write down our proudest moments in life and for one of them I wrote down getting accepted into CMU and I think (think) I was the only one that said that. Am I supposed to be playing it cool or does no one else care?

I was also the only one that explicitly said my I was most nervous about doing poorly here.

Those are my thoughts so far: that I don’t fit in, but that I belong.