When my schedule normalized, I started feeling existential about my place on campus. It is a feeling that is hard to describe or explain. It was like walking on a Mobius strip or living on a cloud. Though you are aware of who you are and what you are doing, you cannot figure out where you are going.
People told me that college would be like a bubble. You stay inside comfortably without feeling any pain. I thought I might be living in the wrong bubble.
But life became interesting again when my roommate Nico got a skateboard for us from Beachwood, which was the only place where I felt in touch with the whole city.
I had never thought of learning to skateboard before. I am not the most athletic or healthy, and sports usually fail to satisfy me. I don’t like to hear these words from other people, but I’m just being honest about myself here.
However, skateboarding was different for me. My skateboard was small, shiny and cool. It also proved to be the best transportation to class for me when I was stupid enough to ignore the GreenLink shuttle.
Then I started to practice on my own. Compared to my roommate, I seemed to be much more brave. I fell much more often than she did when we were practicing. My knees, elbows and legs all got hurt, leaving me covered in bandages. Even my roommate was worried by all the bruises I got. I still skateboarded all the time, because when I did it, I felt happy.
Skateboarding became the main way for me to get closer to the outside world. On the way to class, I could see nature: dozens of birds taking off together, squirrels chasing each other and leaves turning yellow.
With skateboarding, the streets are no longer only cement. The speed helped me notice small hills. Every bump in the sidewalk was apparent when I fell or wobbled on the board. I was never worried about falling over as long as I didn’t hurt my head. I felt like a dancing queen every time I skated a long distance without falling.
Most importantly, I felt existent again.
But I was still embarrassed when skateboarding in a crowd. I remembered once when I skateboarded all along from Thwing Center to my dorm, I felt so cool until I fell in front of three people, in front of my dorm.
Pain, embarrassment and regret all came to my mind at the moment. I soon turned back into the original girl, with weak legs, easily injured skin and a usual blush in the face. Then I heard people asking if I was okay and they helped me stand up and pick up my belongings. I realized again I was experiencing a new environment but also that I was sharing it.
I felt myself fitting in the culture and experienced kindness from people around me and the world I am now apart of.
Erya Du is a first-year pre-law student double majoring in international studies and economics. She loves deer, pandas and architecture.