Like my cats at home, I'm a creature of habit. But change is good, right?
Studying abroad last semester in Luxembourg was a huge change for me.
But that's expected. You can't just go to a new place and expect it to be the same as where you've been before.
I like when the stimuli around me are expected, regulated, constant. So coming back to Oxford meant returning to somewhere familiar.
That's not to say that there's never anything new to adjust to. Like any college campus, Miami's almost always renovating something. Whether it's a semester-long effort or a summer vacation plan, some project is always in development on this campus, and usually for the better.
It's the minutia that's really been getting to me these first couple of weeks.
There's always a few changes made to Miami's campus every semester. Last fall, coming back to Armstrong's new east wing was huge. That's a macro-level change to this campus for students.
But now that I have to play catch up with two semesters' worth of changes big and small, it makes Oxford feel a little bit less like home.
It's really messing with my head.
Last week, between classes, I strolled through Haines Boulangerie, one of Armstrong's eating locations commonly referred to by my friends as "fake Panera," looking for a quick sandwich for lunch. To my surprise, customers are now able to line up to build their own rice bowl. (It was good though -- I don't hate this change at all.)
The other day, while waiting for the light to change at the ever-busy intersection at Spring and Patterson Streets, a first-year was asking people nearby where Brick & Ivy - which, last year, was Miami's technology-inclined retailer for students - could be found.
A nearby student mentioned that it was in Shriver - internally, I knew this had to be wrong. I'd seen Brick & Ivy countless times before.
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Confidently, I said it was right across from Cafe Lux in Armstrong's east wing - where it was last fall.
I wasn't right. It really is located in Shriver now. In fact, Brick & Ivy is now an umbrella term for the entire bookstore.
The former Brick & Ivy location is now home to ROWAN Boutique. What? Since when?
My roommate came to campus this semester without her Miami I.D. card. Having lost mine my freshman year, I was able to tell her she could purchase a new one at the H.O.M.E. office in the Campus Avenue Building.
Except it's not called the H.O.M.E. Office anymore. She got her new I.D. from the Campus Services Center.
In a way, it's like being a freshman again. During my first week on campus two years ago, I remember telling myself that even if I had trouble navigating then, I'd know Oxford like the back of my hand by now.
Suddenly, instead of being a knowledgeable upperclassman, I find myself questioning everything again. When did Miami Ice start serving coffee again? Did they rename the rec? Are we even the RedHawks anymore?
I'm so prone to being shaken by change now that I walked into my French classroom this morning and thought that the desks had been entirely switched out.
It feels like someone's playing SimCity on some kind of turbo hyperspeed. Everything's becoming new and different and it's not easy to keep up.
Is this a first world problem?
Everything's the same in September 2018 that it was in September 2017 for the most part. Bachelor Hall is still a maze, I can still get Bagel and Deli delivered to my door more than I should and everyone still avoids stepping on the seal on Academic Quad.
My day-to-day life isn't negatively impacted by these changes. I just feel really confused.
The root of the issue probably isn't Miami at all. It's really the fact that I went abroad and haven't been in Oxford for a while - which isn't bad at all.
I can't say that I wish I could be in a stagnant Oxford for four solid years. I just wish I could have known about these changes in advance.
Change is natural, it's happening all the time, and it can be for good reason. Surprises can be fun and exciting. But I do wish Miami would cool it for a second on aesthetic shifts. Let me have just one predictable walk through campus at the start of next fall