Okay, so let’s set the record straight. I’m not a total social outcast. Nor am I the type of person who’ll go ‘speed-walking’ in the opposite direction whilst plugging in a couple of headphones whenever anyone approaches within a five-foot radius. Honestly, I’m actually more on the friendly side of things. A dreamer. A believer. A girl who’s got her head stuck in the clouds, if you will. Though, I promise you, if you do ever see me walking in the opposite direction while you’re practically screaming my name, that’s just a trait of mine which I call ‘ignorance to the obvious.’ Or, as I like to call it, daydreaming.
Homework. Tests. Pop quizzes. Food. English assignment due Tuesday. Math assignment due Wednesday. Psych assignment due Friday. I could definitely use one of those Insomnia cookies right about now. “Hey, how do you know we have homework?” Someone texts me and I quickly shoot back a reply, telling them to check out the ever so precious Moodle, because we’re freshmen and some things just take a while to get used to. Except, when I look down at my dimly lit phone screen I notice my text has been autocorrected to ‘noodle’ and I sigh typing the word in again, only to be autocorrected again. By now my fingers are jamming the keys, and I’ve somehow ended up turning a serious conversation about homework into one about Chinese cuisine. Literally. The word ‘noodle’ has become the main focus of our conversation and I’ve ended up typing it six times. Repeatedly. I nearly facepalm as the soft jingle of a new message being sent reverberates through my dorm room. “So, I’m guessing you’re hungry? Want to grab some dinner later?” My head hits the pillow with a soft ‘thump.’ I’ve given up. “Yeah, sure,” I throw back because that’s what I’d been going for.
Every day is a downward descent for me. No, I mean literally a downward descent. I live in Van Meter, the place on campus where there’s a huge debate going on whether or not it’s higher up than Orchard Hill. It was an interesting destination choice in my case since, you know, my middle name practically spells out k-l-u-t-z. I’ve spent endless minutes stumbling down that hill, tumbling over some loose gravel, tripping over my own feet, falling over…air? And yet, something about the place still manages to draw me in. Maybe it’s because the hill provides one of the serenest locations for a dorm. Maybe it’s because I finally started using the bus so that I don’t have to climb up those steep trails every day. Maybe it’s because the view from up top is breath-taking. Or maybe, it’s because every time I stand at the bottom of said hill and take my first step up, I can’t help but mutter,” it’s all going to be uphill from here.”
You know when you’re still getting used to your giant campus, and you end up getting lost even while using a GPS? If you ever see that girl wondering around DuBois in circles, that’ll probably be me. The first time I got completely disoriented on campus was while making my way to the Engineering Laboratory and accidentally plugging in GPS directions for a car instead of for walking. I confidently strode down the sidewalk, tracing the edge of the road for about 20 minutes before realizing something was wrong. You see, when your GPS is telling you that you’ll reach the Engineering Lab in three minutes and you’ve been walking for 20, it’s kind of obvious either you’ve taken a miserably long detour or you just made a huge mistake while typing in your location. I ended up reaching class in the nick of time, huffing from having run all the way over there, but, in my head, pumping my hands in the air for making it on time.
Have you ever encountered anyone doing the ‘not so subtle turn-around’ on one of those busy roads where everyone’s bustling about and trying to make their way to class? I’m talking about those people who pause on the sidewalk while staring at their phone, knowing that they’ve taken the wrong direction but don’t want to seem obvious about it. So, what do they do? Well, they freeze on the sidewalk, type a few things on their phone and then subtly do a complete 180 degrees and head in the opposite direction like nothing ever happened. Of course, there are those rare cases who don’t even bother pausing, so it just looks like they’re doing a fascinating twirl at full speed. Been there. Done that. Check that off my list of things to do in order to get the whole college experience.
“I’m not boring or shy, I’m an introvert.
I’m an introvert. I love watching Netflix on the weekend, spending time with a close bunch of friends, curling up in blankets and eating pints of ice cream or a cup of mac ’n’ cheese, whatever the weather calls for. Sometimes, I feel homesick, staring at the pictures of friends and family from home taped up on my walls. Some days I wish autocorrect wouldn’t correct my words, I wish that I would get back up after tripping over my own shoelaces and falling flat on my face, I wish that I wouldn’t lose my way in this big, big world and I wish that I wouldn’t turn around every time I was too scared to take a chance.
A chance to dream.
A chance to believe.
A chance to be that girl with her head in the clouds.
Instead of being what everyone else wants me to be.
I’m an introvert.
What are you?
Kavya Jeganathan can be reached at [email protected]