“You can leave GHP, but GHP will never leave you.”

Above: A fellow Commie writing “GHP” in the dewy grass the morning of Convocation.

I’ve never written about my GHP experience – I’ve always considered it to be something I could never sum up, even if I wrote a novel. I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll never be able to convey the feeling I had at GHP or the feeling I get as I think about GHP, besides describing them as combinations of happiness, bewilderment, and amazement.

As the one-year anniversary of our first day approaches, I feel the need to write about it. Not a broad overview, as I struggled to do for college applications, but narratives of certain moments. Possibly to work on description, like Sylvia Plath did with her narrative entries. We’ll see. In any event, the next few entries will likely be these narratives, in no particular order, and I’ll use initials instead of full names. I’ll start…now.

On Saturday, June 12, 2010, I breezed through the ACT, dropped E at her house, and finished loading the car for the five-hour trip to Valdosta. What to expect? I wasn’t sure. J, a Communicative Arts (“Commie”) major in 2009, kept describing the experience as “awesome,” but awesome’s a descriptor that doesn’t really answer any question, so I had no idea. I was just excited to begin a new adventure.

Valdosta proved to be even hotter and more humid than Atlanta. We arrived the night before and had dinner in a small shopping center, where we ran into P’s family; I knew him from elementary school but hadn’t seen him in forever, and our moms knew each other. He was going. We also saw J’s family in the parking lot; he went to my school. I couldn’t imagine how much smaller the world was going to get.

The next morning, I woke up very early, since I seemed to get the earliest move-in time, and we drove through campus until we found my dorm. Hopper, a freshly renovated four-story dorm, looked great. My mom dropped me off on the curb with my stuff while she parked the car. J (from school) and his family came over to chat, and they ended up helping me move in, which was nice. We lugged my stuff up the stairs to the second floor, where my cheerful RA was waiting. A former Commie, she was excited to hear about my major. She gave me tons of instructions and showed me my room.

Each hall had a theme, and mine was Peanuts; drawings of Lucy, Charlie Brown, and Schroeder lined the walls, and our doors had our names below a comic strip. My roommate, who hadn’t yet arrived, was B, a Physics major.

I was whisked to the VSU shuttle, on which I met several people, two of whom I had mutual friends with. We chatted through the bus ride, each of us excited to begin the six-week adventure. The sweltering heat lent us no mercy; our shiny ID pictures showed the reflected sweat that had accumulated due to the humidity. On the way back, I found out my friend B from the previous summer was also on my hall, so we walked back together and parted to put things in our rooms. I found my mother and grandmother still there, waiting until I returned to say their final goodbyes. They were sentimental, yet I was anxious to start a new adventure. As I watched the door close, I put on my headphones and began unpacking, awaiting my roommate’s arrival.

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