For some reason I came to school under the impression that everything that I needed for my Fundamental Horsemanship class was on this list, but I was wrong. I ended up having to purchase all of the required materials, plus ones that were not on the list. it is not that I do not think that they will go unused, only that I was not aware of them. If I had known I would have experienced less sticker shock at least. There also seemed to be a resounding opinion among the girls that what they had brought with them was inadequate to the eyes of the teachers. I can see both sides of the issue; for the teachers: they know what works best, for the students: they (and their debit cards) are perfectly happy with adequate opposed to ideal. Even the girls who brought their personal horses had to buy things that were the type equivalent of what they knew already worked for their horse.
One of the students was also concerned about the “humane” aspect of some of the gear. Her views I found to be under-informed, but valid given what she did know. And it did make me question a little too. I have very little knowledge on bits and their purpose, but I am uneasy with the idea of riding a horse in a correction bit for three months, 6 days every week. When I think of a correction bit I imagine that we are trying to correct something the horse is doing by using it. But it is hard for me to comprehend finding so many things technically wrong with a horse that I know some girls will be expected to ride, even though they have had less than 5 hours on a horse in their entire life. Though, I do also know that my knowledge is very limited and that my teachers have years of experience. So at this point all I can really do is go with the flow and learn what they have to teach.
It is my hope that I can gain enough knowledge during the next year to be able to build a small business. At home there are a ton of things for sale that freshmen will need. The upside is that a lot of it can be bought used (ie. saddles, bridles, blankets, etc). I could buy some of these items, bring them back with me the coming fall, and offer them to the freshmen at a lower price than they could get here, but still make a little money myself. I will have to buy some (or possibly all) of the required English tack for my Sophomore year, which means that I will have to earn/save more money for that as well as tuition.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most of the equipment will probably last at least the entire four years, if not longer. And, therefore, I will not have to buy that item again in the coming years. It is an investment.
I came to Rocky with no friends, no family, and a vague idea of what my life as a college student might be like. Orientation fixes the first, gets you started on repairing the second problem, and changes what you thought you knew about the third.
Most people seem to cling to what they know and are scared silly by the idea that they will be “alone”. The truth is, ya, you are alone, but you are alone with 300 other people in the same boat. This total lack of relationships pretty much forces you to, at the very minimum, pretend that you actually want to meet another human being. Luckily the majority of people put more effort into building new friendships than the bare minimum. I met so many new people that I had their life stories coming out my nose; you can’t even remember half of the names you are told, even after spending 3 days around them. But you do what you can, because you realize that most of them are doing the same.
Another thing you realize is how much some of these random strangers seem to look like people you know back home. Like this guy from Sweden or something that just looks like my high school classmate Ryan. Or this girl Cynthia (not Cindy!) whose face appears to be quite similar to that of my dance buddy, Alyssa. It is both weird and comforting having these “familiar faces” around.
I had expected that most of the people I connected with would be horse people, but that was totally ridiculous of me, I should have known better. Of course I have a herd of fellow equestrians, but there are also teaching majors, an art major, a geology major, and a couple of others. Even in high school and junior high I was friends with different groups of people and then had a more core group of close friends. I’m not sure who the close friends will be yet, but I feel blessed to be getting to know all of the people who I do. Those will be the people who will be my family here as the years go on. And just like at home, I will probably have more than one family. There will be the horse family, who I can ask for riding advice and support (more of a working family). Then there will probably also be one of people who I go to for more basic emotional and relational help. It could turn out that the two blur together in a couple of places even. And even though I have no idea who my close friends will be yet, I have no doubt that I have an amazing base to build on.
It was my impression that classes would be different and similar in some ways to those from my past, the thing is though that I had them mixed up. In high school I knew that my teachers had friends among the other faculty, in college you see just how close they may actually be. An example would be my Art History teacher and my English teacher. I had one class right after the other in the same building, and during both classes both teachers were present in the room. They related memories and recognized information that the opposite knew, just like real people. Which was something that they verbally emphasized in their classes; that we should try to make sure that we treat them like humans, not like some other species that we couldn’t build a more natural relationship with. I think that I kind of knew this in high school since I ate lunch with one of my teachers almost every day and got to know her better, but I never realized it to such an extent that I have today.
There is so much more to learn in college than just what your teachers have on the syllabus.
Today was a mile marker in my academic career. I walk into my class and am just talking with everyone and eventually the teacher comes in. So he explains that he isn’t the Art History teacher and that he is just filling in so he really has no info for us. He ends up just talking about how teachers don’t always believe that their #1 reason for being at the school is to educate students and then he pops in the “F word”. It was so weird, because I have never in my life heard any of my teachers say anything more than hell and this guy was just spouting them out like it was some kind of adjective. I counted 6 of them through the 45 or so minutes that we were with him. It really isn’t a huge deal to me, his word choice is his decision, but it was such an odd experience.
Other than that the day was pretty uneventful. Browsed the library, went to an SAS (Services for Academic Success) meeting, chilled in my room, went to that above experienced class, chilled in the dorm again, went to a lunch meeting with the Equine kids (all girls except for the one guy from Maine who wears full on western wear), came back and took a nap, went to the clubs fair, chatted with some people (yes, I do have some social skills!), ate dinner, went to the gym and biked, had a floor meeting, chatted some more, went to this fire/live music thing where we “roasted” mallows on wooden skewers, chatted more, planned a swimming time for 6am tomorrow, then came back up to the room. And if I go to sleep now I will get nearly 8 hours in before swimming laps tomorrow! But I will probably pack for the camping trip first.
And so begins the actual college experience.
Pretty uneventful actually. Got to the school a half hour early and managed to get good parking for both cars, which were totally full of people and horse stuff. We then find out that we have to go through all of this other stuff before we can actually move in (ie. mailbox, id photo, email setup, etc). The first person I meet is a kid from Wyoming, I believe is what it was, named Pearly. I meet a couple of others while waiting to get my mailbox key, including one that we later saw in the Wally World and in line for dinner.
Once all of that is finished we can finally grab the stuff out of the cars. Dad’s had the majority of my things, so we started with that. It took the three of us half a dozen trips to get it all up to my room on the second floor. When we were getting ready to haul up the fridge there were no dollys available, so we borrowed one of the RAs instead, who was quite nice!
We later had to go to Wally World to pick up a couple of things (Mom and Dad are making another trip tonight to pick up a box fan, get my car key copied, and exchange a watchband). So we traveled all over the store in search of lights and a microwave, among a few other things. There were several other familiar faces throughout our escapade.
By this point we only had about half an hour before the next thing on our agenda, and we head back to the school. The parents have a little meeting about what not to write to their kids about in letters and were assured about the security of campus. On our end of things we do silly little handshakes (turkey, rocket, salmon, etc) and watch skits that encompass certain things to not do (ie. “sleep in your roommate’s bed and defecating in the showers). We are then split into groups and do get-to-know-you games. There were two other Idaho kids in mine along with two or three equestrian students.
Dinner is a buffet style with russet potatoes, roast beef, corn, salad, and rolls. We ended up sitting with a family who was very nice. The kid (Joe?) worked on an asparagus farm this past summer and has not picked a major yet.
After dinner and spending more time putting together my dorm we go to a skit called “Who Moved my Cheese”, based on the respective book by that title. It was totally hilarious and spontaneous because, they cast it 24 hours before and only practice once. It was about how you have to keep up with change or you get left behind. We sat behind a ginger mom who was quite hilarious and was telling us about she always wanted a daughter and wants to be a student at RMC.
I met two girls today who had little to no horse experience and let them know that I would totally be willing to sell them some of the tack I have been collecting and even give them some of the stuff that was given to me to “pay it forward”. One of them is my next door neighbor from New York and she seems really nice, so we should get along really well.
It looks like it is time for bed. I have breakfast at eight as a precursor to a very busy day.