By Sakhile Vanqa
The halls smell different, and the linoleum tiles in your dorm room don’t seem to match the ones in the kitchen you had back home.
What went awry?
Not awry, the college experience has begun. It’s not as daunting as you may perceive it. Despite ‘the college experience’ meaning a lot of things to different people, it all depends on what you came to CCAD for. Predominantly, to excel in your field is what is expected. Growth.
It sounds rather pretentious, but take it from me, when you go back home there are a lot of things you once felt comfortable doing or being a part of that you’ll feel are far too puerile for you, or they just don’t appeal at all to you anymore.
My first impression of CCAD fell on a balmy, late August afternoon. “You have arrived at your destination,” my GPS, Irene, chimed in. Truth be told, sweeter words have not been said to me, and I was ready to hop out of the U-Haul truck after spending 11 hours on the road. I met Kylie Jenkins and Jessie Hampton, resident advisors I now work with, manning the front desk.
After unloading everything from the back of the truck, I bonded with Kylie and Jessie over red velvet cookies and icing. ‘Unhealthy!’ you exclaim. What do you think artists run on? Jessie and I bonded even more over how glorious it is to be tall, and Kylie; well she continued munching away. Though I have been in boarding school since I was 12 years old, I found a level of comfort here incomparable to anything prior. The rest is history.
It’s so easy to connect with people in ‘Schott’ [the Schottenstein Residence Hall]. It’s the best place to see how the chemistry plays out between you and everyone before the college life begins. It starts with your roommates—what turns you on, and puts you off. Perhaps even the guilty pleasure of listening to Nickelback.
Is that just me? Oh, okay. Never mind—as you were.
Because you are all in the same class standing for the most part, you can head to the lobby and find a classmate or peer working on the exact same project you’re working on, and depending on your diligence will discern to what degree you find middle ground. It then becomes something of a joke between the both of you: ‘remember that one night we pulled an all-nighter for that design project?’ Goodness all of those all-nighters. It opens up the doors to more connections; you’ll find that, on campus, there are two to three degrees of separation between everyone. It’s particularly funny in situations such as the fire alarm getting set off —you will always know who has done it. If you have watched Up you would know what the ‘Cone of Shame’ is. To empty an entire residence hall on to an adjacent car park is amazing!
For the love of all things holy, please read and understand the instructions on popcorn packets. It’s hilarious to watch a group of artists suddenly turn into detectives to find out who brought the alarms alive; we can’t do math but we can solve a mystery so well it would put Mystery Inc. to shame.
It’s something undeniable to fit a mould you have set for yourself, with some of the greatest people you will ever know. CCAD is the third college I moved to, and some of the strongest relationships formed came from the people I shared a room with, or lived right down the hall from—people I grabbed coffee with on a regular basis for example. Coming from a third culture kid, I would like to think that gives relationships in the residence halls some merit.
Like I said: It all depends on what you want to make out of your experience here, but it will be anything but boring and ordinary. You’re an artist; you’re already family.
Sakhile Vanqa is a junior majoring in Cinematic Arts who enjoys humor, cycling, and aspires to shoot for National Geographic.
The Life at CCAD blog brings prospective students and their families into ongoing conversation with CCAD students, admissions counselors, and financial aid staff—including occasional visits from other members of the CCAD family.