Lee Hayman

New friends, new experiences.

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Lee Hayman, far right, at a home game with her friends. -Lee Hayman

Every year The MV Times asks several recent high school graduates to write about their experiences during their first year after graduation. Lee Hayman is attending Denison University in Granville, Ohio. This is her second dispatch.

A month ago today, I left for college. I feel about 10 years older, but luckily not the freshmen 15 heavier from the dining hall quite yet. It really is crazy to think about all that can happen in just one short month, and that I’ve probably already doubled the number of hours I spent studying senior year, and haven’t even had my first college exam. That’s actually coming up this week, and I gave my parents specific instructions that this would probably be a great week to send a care package, so I don’t actually collapse after seeing my grade.

Classes are hard, but they’re supposed to be, it’s college; at least that’s what everybody keeps saying. And no, all those pointless last-minute, end-of-the-quarter papers teachers assigned because “I’m just preparing you for college!” did not actually prepare me; sorry, MVRHS. But other than the fact I’ve spent upwards of six hours straight at the library already, residential life is actually really great. My dorm mates across the hall have a TV, and last Sunday we all ordered pizza and watched the Pats, something I used to do with my dad and sister every week, and it felt like a little piece of home. My roommate and I think it’s hysterical to dance around our room blasting music while vacuuming with our little purple vacuum, and our best friends are just a room away. One of my good friends here and I usually just yell through our walls to each other, which I am sure everyone in the hall really appreciates. You can always find someone who’s up to walk into town, go to the library, or go to a sports game. My friends and I went into Columbus the other day to go to a concert of a band I had never heard of, because why not? Tickets were cheap, and the best part about being independent at college is that you can take advantage of any opportunity you want to.

Speaking of which, I had the incredible experience of having one of my classes last week taught by the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, Patrise Cullens. An artist, teacher, performer, and advocate, she taught a student-run discussion about the issues of race in our country right now, and it made me so proud to be able to study at an institution that wants and encourages their students to have these discussions and implement changes, within our student body but also with our faculty and family.

I went home this weekend to see my beautiful cousin get married! It was perfect weather and had the energy and love in the air you hope is at every wedding. I got to watch my little sister, Addy, dominate on the field hockey field, see one of my closest friends, Lisa Knight, and then watch Addy play lacrosse all day at Harvard! I also got to see my dogs again, and may have done a test to see if my miniature dachshund, Ajax, fit in my carry-on, and just how mad my residential assistant would be if he just happened to have hopped in my bag back to school.

Leaving my family again was really hard, and the TSA man looked more than a little concerned about me when I checked in after saying goodbye to my dad. But as much as it is hard to be 800 miles away from my family at times, I know they all want me to be enjoying school and creating the new experiences I was so excited to tell them all about this weekend. And it’s just another example of how truly special the place we call home is when you step off the boat in Woods Hole and start counting down the days until you’ll be taking the ferry ride back once again.