His dorm is the ONE right in the middle of campus, the campus being Texas A&M (WHOOP!). There are many dorms on northside; there are many dorms on southside. There is one in the middle. When we went to unload his things, we found out just how very wise he was to have chosen Hart Hall. Or more correctly, as we walked and drove around later in the day and saw the utter chaos in the other dorm areas, we thanked God (and our son) for his dorm location far from the crowds.
When hubby and I attended A&M, lo these many years ago, Hart was a non-air-conditioned dorm. Yes, you read that correctly. When we were there, the non-AC dorms cost $332 a semester, ladies and gents. Quite the bargain, if you don't mind sleeping in a sauna for portions of the school year.
Two of those dorms were torn down, and the two that remain now have window AC units. I wondered how efficient that would be -- until I walked into StO's room yesterday. Wow -- seriously cold! When I looked at the AC unit, I found it was on the medium setting, and it was also on energy saving. It wasn't even working hard! We were pretty sure we could make it grow icicles on the ceiling if we wanted.
The joys of the 80-year-old dorm are many. I will list them here:
- There have been so many coats of paint that where it is chipped, the thickness is measurable.
- There is a RADIATOR. You folks in the north are used to this; in Texas, it's almost unheard of.
- Because the bunk beds are up against the radiator, the closet door doesn't close.
- They put in electricity after the fact. The wiring is attached to the walls. That's one of the big reasons I wish I'd had my camera.
- There are multiple sets of wiring: the first set of electricity, the set for the AC, and the wiring for the CAT-5 (internet) cable.
- The floors are cement. Not stained concrete, just plain old cement. That's a great way to wake up in the morning, when your feet hit the icy cement. (Remember the super-cold AC? That's some cold cement, boys 'n' girls!) We bought the boy a broom for this floor. Any bets on how soon (if ever) it gets used?
The true joys, of course, are that there is a hundred-year-old (or at least reallyreally old) oak tree right outside his window, and it's a minute-long walk to the MSC (the Memorial Student Center, or the student union building on most campuses). It's less than five minutes by foot to virtually any classroom building where he will have to go. And it was the cheapest dorm on campus.
His roommate -- not a freshman -- is a Fish Camp counselor. You Aggies and/or Texans know what that is, but I'll try to explain for the benefit of anyone else who might not know. Aggie freshmen are known as fish and are given the option to attend Fish Camp, which is an indoctrination into Aggie life and traditions. Hubby and I didn't go (he by choice, since he'd lived in College Station for a couple of years; and me because of financial reasons, being the daughter of a single mom), but it's a great way to be introduced to A&M and what it's all about. StO declined the opportunity, but I'm quite sure his roomie will take care of his lack of knowledge. Son is an introvert; roomie is an extrovert. I hope they will get along.
This is the day that, as a mom, you look forward to and dread in equal measure. Your child has grown up, is flying the coop. So why does it feel like a hole in the middle of my chest, like someone has taken part of me away, removed it? I look forward to the independence and the discovery that college means for him. His life has been pretty sheltered up to now, and I know in many ways he'll discover who he is. I look forward to that for him. But he's my boy, even though he's so much taller than me, and I miss seeing him, even just today. I'm sure that will get worse before it gets better.
And, since someone will ask, I did not cry when I left him. Crowd of guys hanging around and all that. I miss him, though. How long until he runs out of laundry a couple of times and wants to come home to do it here?