I went to see Professor Nishikawa for help on Calculus I material. I was sitting in the hallway waiting because there was another student in his office. And this kid approached me out of the blue. I was still a little thrown off because it was a complete stranger…and I hated talking to strangers. One of the first things he asked me was where I was from. Of course by now, that was a standard question. The trifecta of questions at college is name, major, and where you’re from. So naturally I told him, “Fort Ann,” and from there it was quite the meeting. Turns out, he was from Fort Ann as well. Stephen Carter just happened to be at Clarkson. It was surprising to me to say the least.
He helped me out quite a bit with adjusting to the new work load and the material from my classes. He also invited me to Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. The first gathering of Christians that I met on Clarkson’s campus. Suddenly I had several new friends. They were all very cool people too. They also led me into a great fellowship up here in Potsdam as well, Christian Fellowship Center. Suddenly I had a new group of people to get to know. People that I could become familiar with, I had found my friends.
I began to become friends with people I didn’t know, slowly moving on, in a way, from my friends in high school as I’m sure that they did as well. It was a fantastic time, and I began to gain weight as well. The freshman 15 definitely happened for me. I went to breakfast, lunch, and dinner at certain times, and I became friends with some of the workers there. Just because I was being friendly, which is nice. For me personally, I can become friends easier with people who are not my peers.
I ended up getting into Christian music. I enjoyed listening to it, I think I may have drove my roommate crazy a few times. I never used headphones simply because I would have to take out my hearing aids to use them. It was just easier to not use them.
I read my Bible as much as I could, I got annoyed because I wasn’t evangelizing to people.
Classes themselves were okay. I just put my head down and did my best. I went to visit my professor when I was unsure of things, and did what I knew.
I ended up going to a bible study on Thursday evenings at 5:30 in Townhouse 12. It was helpful, and I met some great guys, many of whom I’m still friends with. I enjoyed going there and hanging out in the Townhouses. It was quite often fun. Some Thursdays I would have to leave early because of evening exams. Something I hadn’t experienced before.
My first evening exam at Clarkson was in Physics 1. I took Physics in high school, and let me tell you, I thought I knew all about it. After all, I passed the regents didn’t I? Well, as it turns out I didn’t know all about Physics. I got a 32 out of 60 or something of the likes. It wasn’t easy at all. Not to mention as I left the exam lecture hall that night, I like the other freshmen in the class with me, all 400 to 600 of them, (first time I’d experienced classes that large for sure) went through a long line of people chanting “Business Majors” and handing out dum-dum pops, and drop forms.
They knew the test was difficult. They had been there. Gone through it themselves. But I was drained mentally, I don’t think I had expected to really be challenged up here. Back home, I was the smart kid. The kid that everyone else asked for answers. Up here at Clarkson, I was normal. The kid who was learning the material for the first time just like everyone else, and not sure what to do on the problems just like everyone else.
Something that I realized at the time I wanted. To be a normal student, I didn’t want to stand out…I had stood out back in high school. Now I wanted to relax and just be a part of the group. And I got that wish. A little more than I would have liked I think, now that I look back on it.