This is the middle of my sixth year at WVU. Counting summers, this starts my 14th semester. This day, right now, is probably the best first day of classes I’ve ever had.
I woke up early and worked for hours on my website, and enjoyed every minute of it. Then I packed my lunch (which I usually don’t do, which annoys me, because fast food is more expensive), and left early enough that I could just walk around the MountainLair (WVU’s student union) grab the student newspaper, and watch students on their very first day of college ever.
I was five minutes early for class, and once it started, I realized I think I’m going to like the subject matter and professor. After class, I took a nice nap, started organizing all of my scanned pictures (a task I’d been putting off for weeks) then headed down to the Rec Center (WVU’s gym). Though the spinning class I wanted wasn’t offered today (and I forgot that was the case), I still gave myself a nice hard workout on one of the Center’s elliptical machines.
After that, I headed back to the ‘Lair. When I first started at WVU, the tradition after the first day of classes was the Block Party. Thousands of students (and many others, as time went on and its fame grew), converged on Grant Avenue in Sunnyside, and tore the place apart; couches burned, fights broke out, but people had fun. When I was in undergrad (mid 1990’s): the party finally got crazy enough that someone was shot (stabbings, sadly, were already a relatively common occurrence). As news helicopters from 90 miles away (based out of Pittsburgh) filmed the crowds and fires from overhead, and the news of the violence reached the University, it was decided that the Block Party would be permanently shut down.
These days, during the first week of school, anyone who’s even on their porch in Sunnyside is asked to go inside, and no loitering in the area is allowed. In an effort to lure students to something a bit less dangerous when school starts, Fall Fest was instituted: the Lair stays open late, WVU brings in live bands, and no one gets shot. Or stabbed. Or (to the immense relief of the University) filmed as part of a “Look at those crazy WVU students” story that goes national.
It’s FallFest right now. I’m now sitting in the middle of the Lair, surrounded by students, probably most of whom are freshmen. It’s been raining and thunderstorming all day, and the live bands were rained out, so they’re all in here. 1000 people? 2000 people? It’s difficult to say. But they’re all talking, and laughing, and having fun.
And almost therefore by proxy, so am I.
A great ending, for a great day.