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Towards the arrival of the start of the 2014 fall semester at Shawnee State University, I was but a simple character. Similar to who I am now, I was one who looked at the world with a curious eye. I came at it with well intent and an aim to kindness and respect. So when I caught knowledge of who I would be rooming with for that year, I thought I’d take some sort of proactive action to making the first attempt at contact a well off one.
It was an email chain that was the point of origin for our first words to each other, though looking back it was fairly lackluster. I set one up as a means of informal introduction and a way to set up who would be bringing what supplies for the dorm, if able. I don’t really remember what exactly I said, but it probably fell along the lines of:
“Hello, I am Sean Stewart and I will be your housemate for Campus View 203 this year. Feel free to reply back with any concerns you have about what I can bring for the room, or what you already have. Currently, I have a microwave and a blender, but if you want to bring something else feel free.”
The chain worked only to a sub-par level, for I don’t recall much activity from those involved. I had no idea who anyone was. No Facebook details, no reliable phone number, no intel. Though when the day of my first day arrived in mid-August of 2014, it would be the start, as I would come to know it, to a grand new era.
The Weekend of Welcome was an impressive sight. The school put out what I’d later see as their largest attempt at building hype for the semester. They threw barbecues, hosted games, and the university set up bounce houses and climb towers. We could make shirts and snow cones, we had bonfires and drove carts under the influence of “drunk goggles”. Lots of people, from all over, met and mingled through that whole weekend. Though in the light of it, after all the new people I’d meet at those events, I’d find myself under the realization that I still hadn’t even met my housemates.
When the Sunday of Weekend of Welcome arrived, as I believe it to be the afternoon, a party of parents and son entered the dorm. They were unloading into the room next door to mine. They were carrying bags and boxes. They look tired and weary from whatever drive they had to take to get there. And now the task of hauling luggage looked to only dread them. To give space and respect, I thought it acceptable to leave and return when these strangers had caught their breath, so that’s what I did. Walking past them I stopped to let out a noticeable “Hi, I’m Sean,” to the youngest of the party of unfamiliar faces.
He looked at me and put the box he held down onto the ground. In a show to acknowledge he heard what I had pronounced, he walked over to my point and drew his hand out and stretched it towards my person. He was a tall and fairly slender student. He wore a mid-sized blue t-shirt, with well-groomed hair. He seemed pale from my account, I figured he was a gamer like me, spending his days indoors rather than out. I thought to myself, it was good to finally meet the person I’d be living with for the next nine months. I let out a small smirk and shook his hand as I listened to what he had to say.
And in a proper tone and friendly manner, he said “Hey, I’m Jordan. Jordan Molnar. Nice to meet you.”