My First 30 Days by: Maddie Page OSI EDGE Team

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The last time I saw my parents was at the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Ave. I hailed them a cab after we had spent two hours crying in the Starbucks, and waved to them as they drove off. When they were out of sight, driving off to the airport, it finally hit me. I looked up, and I saw strangers, big buildings, and realized that I was all alone in a big city. There was nobody looking out for me, no curfews, and no one to go to. Nothing looked familiar to me, this was the first time I didn’t have my mom or dad watching over and guiding my every move. It felt so foreign to have to rely on myself to get back home.  Although at that point – what was home? A dorm I had decorated the day before with my parents? A random roommate from Las Vegas, who I had no idea if she was sane or crazy?! Suddenly all these thoughts circulated through my mind and it was all so overwhelming. I finally called an uber, because I had never been on the L before, and got back to my dorm, swiped in for the first time and went up to my room.

When I got to my room, my mystery roommate was gone, and I still felt so alone. I laid on my bed, looked up at my ceiling and thought – what now? What do I do now? I don’t know anybody. I went online and then signed myself up to tryout for DePaul’s Women Accapella Choir, looked for the rowing team tryouts, and my mom had already signed me up to rush for a sorority, so I figured that was enough on my plate. I absolutely hate the feeling of being alone, and feeling isolated; especially on the first day of college. Everyone always told me growing up that you will meet so many people, but that day; that particular moment staring at my ceiling blank faced, worried for my first day of class, with not knowing a soul in Chicago, frightened me.

It’s scary moving away from everyone you love and being one of your only friends that go out of state.

It’s a bold and brave move that I was not sure I could conquer. The slum of my “first day of college blues” will forever shape me. I can tell you who I am now more than I ever could because of that first day of college. It just made me want to get involved in everything – and become independent. Immediately, I felt like I needed to make my own money. I wanted to grow without the help of my parents. My parents raised me that way though; they never coddle me like all of my other friends were. My parents work from 7 am to 9 pm daily so my brother and I always had to fend for ourselves. So in a way we were trained for this situation our whole life.

Starting college was rough for me, during my 2nd day of my Discover class I got a call from my uncle saying that our really good family friend, Ollie had died because his plane crashed in Colorado Springs two days ago. Taking this news without the support of my family and close friends was really hard for me to process. I was in the middle of an excursion in Pilsen and I just started balling my eyes out and dropped to the ground. I didn’t know what to do. Ollie’s passing really got to me. Joining so many organizations made me really commit and focus and dedicate my time to them, which kind of distracted me from his death.

Although, I’m so glad I decided to deal with my pain this way. Trying out for DePaul’s Women Accapella Choir was one of the best things that I have done so far.

On the first night of auditions there was about 60 girls all sitting in a room waiting to sing for the 12 girls auditioning us. Little did I know that I was one of the four that was chosen to be in the group. I had no idea that it was so competitive and well known on campus and that was a huge confidence booster for me. I felt so special and great when they called me at 2am to tell me I got in! We have practice 3 times a week, and even though they are tedious, I love it. Singing is my release, it is my way of expressing myself and I always am singing. If you ask any of my friends they will always say that I sing under my breath all the time, even if we are just out to get a bite to eat, or on the L.

DePaul has surprised me in many ways. All my life I was raised to attend the University of Colorado, Boulder. My dad’s family went there, and that was supposed to be where I ended up. Yet, my mom thought otherwise than my father and committed me to DePaul without even telling me. This was the hugest slap in the face for me at first… but I’m so glad she did it. Boulder is a great school, but I just feel so connected with the roots I’ve grown at DePaul. This school has really shaped me already and I can tell I will have a successful 4 years here. I’m still trying to handle time management between being in Delta Gamma, classes, the EDGE program, DWaC, and juggling my three jobs, but I will find my limits soon. Freshman year so far has been a blast, and I’m ecstatic to see what it will keep offering me.

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