“Are we ready?” Dean Fowler asked.
“Yes.” I replied, trying my best to suppress the storm of excitement, anticipation and nervousness blowing through my head as Dean Fowler started her car. We were off to Atlanta.
I was one of the three lucky students (the other two being Jemima Suwa and Bhumika Thapa), who have been selected to participate in Wesleyan’s “Atlanta Semester” program during Fall 2011. With the help of the wide network that Wesleyan’s faculty has, I have been able to secure an internship at a Physics lab at Georgia Institute of Technology.
This was going to be a completely new experience for me. Unlike all the semesters until now when I stayed in the shelter and comfort of Welseyan’s campus, I would have to live in a big city, in an apartment, surrounded by strangers. Nevertheless, I was really looking forward to this adventure.
As Dean Fowler drove past the sign that led to the airport, I let out a long, silent sigh. That was the second time I was going beyond the airport. We had an appointment with my internship supervisor, Dr.Goldman, which went very smoothly. After Dr. Goldman showed me all the cool projects in his lab, I could not wait to get started on my work!
As soon as we were done with the meeting, we headed for the Manor at Buckhead, the apartment where we would be staying. Mrs. Kimmey, the trustee who would be taking care of us in Atlanta, met us at the Manor. The apartment complex is so beautiful and well equipped that I almost thought we had lost our way. It was too good to be true! The Manor has a clubhouse with a swimming pool, gym, mini-theater, conference room, billiard and games room, and free coffee! Mrs. Kimmey showed me into the apartment, and I was greeted with more unbelievable surprises. The apartment was fully furnished with every possible piece of furniture or utensil I could think of. I was speechless.
“Do you like it? Dean Fowler personally chose the furniture and decorations!” Mrs. Kimmey asked.
“I love it!” My ebullience was too strong to hold back.
Since I was the only one who moved into the apartment at that time, my new life was more caution and less adventure. I didn’t venture out too much, and definitely not after it got dark. Every bit of noise would tend to scare me, so I kept the TV on most of the time. However, I had a great time cooking and eating what I liked, when I liked. There was no “dining hall hours”. In two days, I learned to use the MARTA. After feeling the constant need to own a car while staying on campus, the availability of an efficient public transportation system was a blessing. Life began to taste like sweet freedom!
My work at the lab began the Monday after the weekend I moved in. Daily activities automatically fell into a routine. A week later, Jemima and Bhumika arrived. I was elated to have company! The apartment became alive with our plans to explore the city and make the most out of this Atlanta experience. The fun was just beginning.