The first two days of orientation were long but engaging. University dignitaries showed up to welcome the new graduate students, including Kenneth Starr, Baylor’s president. We listened to presentations on our responsibilities as graduate students and teaching assistant, and learned of Baylor’s expectations of us. The theater department performed hilarious skits about the life of a graduate student. We practiced the Baylor yell (Sic’em!).

My head swims with new names, responsibilities, opportunities, challenges. And the relentless thought torments: Can I do this?

At the end of the day, several of us relaxed at a coffee-house called Common Grounds. Our class is fairly diverse, coming from Korea, Ireland, England, and all over the U.S. We have an even number of men and women, a range of ages, and many goals and interests. One student has elaborate tattoos of Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot on his two arms.

We told stories (laced with references to our favorite books), planned potlucks and Shakespeare read-arounds, and laughed. These will be my closest companions for the next two years.