My First Few Weeks in Athens
Well... I would say it’s time for a little life update. My blog has been silently on the quieter side as I prepared and am in the process of adjusting to life in Athens.
As you may have read previously, I accepted my graduate school offer in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications with a full-ride assistantship as a Graduate Resident for Residential Programs and Services at the University of Georgia.
These past two weeks have been filled with some of the best moments, some of the most traumatizing moments, and a whole lot of real-life adulting moments.
I guess we should start from the beginning... the move here.
Traveling to move to Athens
It was a stressful packing experience. I’m the human who takes the biggest suitcases to Disney for a week, and now I’m being told I am moving into an apartment alone with just my Vera Bradley backpack, an extra-large suitcase, a Vera Bradley duffel bag, and my wagon.
In my backpack, I had my Disney 100 crocs and my electronics.
That is all.
For the first time in my life, I flew something other than JetBlue. I ended up flying Delta because they were the only airline to have a flight out of Westchester County Airport to Atlanta that day, and my dad was not about dealing with NYC or LI traffic during the week of Independence Day.
When I arrived in Atlanta, I just followed the crowds and the signs to my luggage, and ran over to make a shuttle bus to UGA campus. (Totally regretted not making time to use the bathroom before getting on the shuttle.)
Getting to my apartment was certainly a journey. I had never visited Atlanta, Athens, or UGA before moving here. I was dropped off at the UGA hotel on-campus, and immediately began to attempt to best organize myself for a trip across campus. I tossed my duffel and backpack onto my wagon, wheeled my suitcase, and tried to handle the Maps on my phone.
The luggage was heavy, the air was hot, and I was barely holding onto my phone as I found my way. At some point it started raining, but it wasn’t too terrible as it did cool the air off a bit.
I arrived on a Friday evening, and had two days until training for my assistantship began. I was able to explore downtown, and get accustomed to some of the areas of campus. I really found that I loved where my building was because it's the perfect distance to the main areas I will need for classes, meetings, shopping etc.
I have found myself to quickly fall in-love with this college town. It has so many great places for coffee, food, and shopping. People in general just tend to be nicer down south, and it’s a super walkable campus which I appreciate.
I also love the fact there’s a mini-Target downtown which is right next to the Chick-fil-A, and Starbucks. basically, my favorite things.
I have discovered some new favorite restaurants while I’ve been here so far as well. Pita Pit and Cava are definitely going to be frequent during my time here. Barberitos has been another new try for me here that I will definitely enjoy more of. And of course I'm happy I can still get my Starbucks and Chick-fil-a with just a short walk downtown. (I actually haven't had Chick-Fil-A yet since I've been here.. maybe we should change that this week.)
I’ve even had ice cream twice so far. I took myself on a date to Ben & Jerry's scoop shop one day after training because I had never had Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream before and needed to see the hype. It was also my first time ever having a waffle cone. We also had a team building event at Andy’s frozen Custard in Athens one evening, so I had my first-ever custard! I went basic with a small vanilla cake cone.
This trip has definitely introduced me to another level of adulting. I’ve paid for pretty much everything myself and I’ve needed/ continue to need lots of things as I only arrived with some clothes. I fortunately have saved up pretty well, but it’s still stressful to only be swiping your debit/credit cards without seeing money coming in. I also eat a lot of specialty foods/need them for personal and health reasons. These always cost extra and it’s so overwhelming when you start from scratch instead of just slowly building. I already miss being on my parents monthly Amazon subscribe & save deliveries when it comes to my protein essentials.
Additionally, I'm also in desperate need of some business casual clothes. I also want UGA Merch.. but I guess that's more of a want than a need right now.
I feel like I haven't fully gotten to the fun part of decorating my apartment yet because I'm just trying to get the essentials.
I’m back to being fully independent which I love, but it’s also a quick adjustment after being at home again for a time being. I may have had to get on-the-phone with my parents about figuring out the Swiffer. Don’t worry though... I found the batteries.
You can’t have sunshine without a little rain.
While I’m loving my time here, I think it’s also safe to say I’ve had my struggles.
We can talk about how I gave myself heat exhaustion on the second day of training. I was definitely scared, stressed, and did everything to avoid calling 9-1-1 that night. But we survived with some rest, cold showers, Advil, Powerade Zero, Bio Steel, and some CorePower. When I was finally able to eat something, I grabbed a packet of Kodiak bear bites for some carbs.
Or we can talk about the time I almost died in a tornado. I decided I wanted to make my Carrot Cake Protein Waffle Recipe. So, I went out downtown to the mini-Target to pick-out a single banana. Now... It feels super empowering to go on a walk for something you need, and it’s always nice to go for a nice walk after sitting in training sessions all-day.
It’s not a super long walk and there was absolutely no warning about severe weather approaching. It was a little gray outside, but nothing too bad.
I got my banana and left to head home before it rained. Well, when I walked out of Target it was a million times darker and the temperature severely dropped.
I should have just gone inside. and asked someone to come pick-me-up, but I can be stubborn and I don’t really like feeling like I'm bothering someone or being an inconvenience.
As I walked back the wind was picking me up and I was certainly struggling to stay standing. Sirens started going off which I eventually realized were tornado sirens (we don’t have those in CT), branches started kicking-up on me and trees were falling left and right
I was nowhere near a building that was open at that hour in-the-summer. It was certainly a crisis adrenaline fight for my life. Eventually, I texted our grads group-chat and was able to make-it safely back home. Drenched, soaked, and somehow didn’t lose my wallet, keys, glasses (did chase my glasses down the stairs at some point) or my life.
I didn’t realize how traumatizing that experience was until the middle of the night or the next day. The next day we were blessed with a cancellation of afternoon training sessions, so I was going to get a coffee. But I saw the wind and said NOPE was not worth it.
I also may currently be writing this blog post with some first-degree burns because I made some Applegate Gluten Free Chicken Tenders and learned I didn’t have an oven mitt… but hey at least my toaster, Keurig, and some pans/pots finally came-in! I can make something other than Turkey wraps.
I’m proud of myself.
At the end of the day... I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of myself for trying new foods, new restaurants, and even having ice cream out twice this month already. (I may be planning another trip for that Baskin-Robbins 31% off deal.) I’m proud of myself for attempting to eat more and push food when I have no appetite. I’m proud of myself for adulting real-hard. I’m proud of myself for surviving a very traumatic caught outside in a tornado experience as well as I could have. I’m proud of myself for handling heat exhaustion. I’m proud of myself for saying “yes” more than “no'' to new experiences, to new cultural traditions, to living life instead of just being alive. And I'm proud of myself for advocating for my needs.
I’m already in-love with this city, and am enjoying this newfound independent life stage. I’m excited (and of course nervous) for all the academic and professional work experiences I’ll have. I’m looking forward to being able to make an impact on the lives of others. I’m excited to continue to explore the area and make core memories with some of the friends I’ve already made here. Here's to making Athens home.
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