Hey, my name’s Jorge Alvarez, and I’m a First generation college student.

My move-in experience was simple; I rolled my duffle bag-suitcase hybrid to my dorm, Hamerschlag House, named after the first president of CMU, Arthur Hamerschlag. I dropped my belongings and after dinner, I unpacked and placed clothes in my wardrobe; this took three hours. I flew in from Orlando; I had my last dinner with family two days before the flight. But there was no dramatic huddle of goodbyes and teary faces exhausted from generous sobbing. None of that. My twin brother drove me to the Orlando International Airport. Mama sat in the back seats perhaps reciting a prayer to wish safety for my flight. When Luis, my twin brother, parked the car at the parking garage, I picked up my backpack and duffle bag with wheels (it’s a hybrid bag). We walked together until I reached the baggage check line. Mama embraced me tightly and gave me a prayer card with a picture St. Judas; if I needed an interceder, St. Judas was my guy. I hugged Luis and said he could call me for any reason. And then I went through TSA check, and boarded the plane soon afterward.

I was indeed needing some things when I got to campus: a comforter for my bed, toothpaste and other toiletries. I took a trip to Rite Aid to find these things quickly. The comforter came in the mail from Bed Bath and Beyond.

My first shower at Hamerschlag House, I learned the bathroom on my floor was communal; this did not affect me at all. Having four brothers and two bathrooms in the house, I’ve grown comfortable with having to share spaces with others, including bathrooms.

I think what was the aspect of dorm living I had to get used to was being surrounded by a floor whose senses of humor converged. My floormates became close within the first few weeks of classes. But their idea of comedy differed considerably from mine. I learned that memes were a college staple; before college, I had only seen a dozen memes. But now, my floormates chortled across the hall over catchy songs, memes and malapropisms. I’ll admit, there were some days where I wanted to tell my floor to pipe down. It might had been a great idea to have asked my RA to figure out how to connect better with the rest of the floor, but I had a lot of popular internet trivia to learn. I wanted to have conversations about fiction novels and talk about high school, but I decided not to stand out. I decided to let the floor be the floor.

I wanted to have conversations about fiction novels and talk about high school, but I decided not to stand out. I decided to let the floor be the floor.

So, my option was to avoid my dorm as much as possible. I felt by removing myself from the floor, I would be able to get my homework done, and let my floormates revel in their conversations. I’ll have to say, with my floormates pursuing such difficult majors like Physics, Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering, I can see that laughter was the best way to de-stress. They enjoyed themselves and I knew they would be great friends.