Just like in movies…
I think that is the best way to summarize my experience so far, since the very first moment I stepped foot onto the University of Rochester campus.
Things I had seen all through my childhood on television suddenly became real experiences I was able to witness and feel with my own senses. Images I thought were just the product of the film-making industry happened to actually be true and tangible. A “just like in the movies” University!
There’s the majestic English-style buildings with lots of students coming in and out, the state of the art labs with guys carefully holding test tubes, the eat-as-much-as-you-want cafeteria with students holding trays with burgers, salad, and milk (you definitely would not mix that food and beverage where I come from…), the American football team with more players on the sidelines than playing (sorry, I just can’t understand this game… believe me I tried!), the guy watching them eating an enormous hotdog and drinking from a massive jumbo Pepsi. There were the first-day-of-classes, events with games, bands playing, free T-shirts, and the fraternity parties (not that I have gone to any yet… I just heard about them). There’s the vast, monumental quad with the greenest grass you could ever see (believe me, it’s so green you need sunglasses to walk through it), and the group of guys playing frisbee – don’t ask me why, but you will always find them, a group of happy people laughing and graciously jumping trying to catch the frisbee in the air (when do they study, I ask myself whenever I see them), while I focus on making it from one class to the other, worrying about the assignments that still need work.
I could even say my life outside of campus has become a little bit like the lives of movie characters: I wake up in the morning, have some just-like-in-movies (JLIM) breakfast (coffee, orange juice, pancakes, eggs & bacon) walk down a street full of JLIM typical American houses with a JLIM large front yard, a JLIM porch with some chairs, a JLIM 2-cars-wide garage, and (of course) a JLIM mailbox with the family name on it on the street. I could probably go on naming JLIM things, but I think you get the point… many things are just the way I used to picture them before coming here. But there are also many things I deal with everyday that do not appear on the movies: there are lots of assignments, hard work to do, exams to study for. There are great professors and advisors willing to help you and give you their advice at any time, even after class. There are lots of resources for students such as printers, private offices to study in and nice, smiling librarians at our disposal to help us find whatever piece of information we need. There are the offices for international students and for career services, both of which organize meetings to make us feel at home. There are also talks and dissertation paper defenses and job fairs. There are even complex math discussions with random people at a bus stop (maybe that would fall into the just-like-in-Big-Bang-Theory things…)
To sum up, some things are just like in the movies, others not. Some days I love it here, other days I miss where I’m from. Some things are very cool, some are not. Some things are really fun, some not so much. Some things are really easy, some things definitely aren’t. Some days go really quickly, some move rather slowly. Now that I think about it… things are just like back home.
– Agustin Baretto ’15 (MS)