One thing that consistently surprises me here is the overall attitude that “we’re all in this together.” (My sincerest apologizes if that sparked a High School Musical sing-along in your head. Sorry about that.)
I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve mentioned on Facebook that I needed to go to a certain place and quickly had three students or other VIPs willing to drive me. Or asked about a good place to get a haircut or where to find a store that sells green peppers and had dozens of suggestions in response, including driving directions, prices, specific people to talk to and offers to take me if I needed a ride. (I even mentioned that the Mister and I needed ideas on where to stay in the gap between leaving the dorm and our apartment being ready, and almost instantly had someone offer to let us stay in his empty house while he went home over the break. Amazing!)
And it’s not just limited to the VIPs who have little better to do all day. The students, while competitive, are still largely willing to help each other out. Their specialized Facebook pages are homes to dozens of uploaded PowerPoint slides, old test examples, diagrams and even audio recordings of lectures from those who have recorders for those who do not. The general sentiment is that everyone wants everyone else to do well and be happy so we can all survive the experience and get off this island as soon as possible.
Everyone has had enough free favors done for them that they are willing to “pay it forward” to help another lost, far-from-home student or VIP out in their time of trouble. Everyone here has been in that position before – out of phone minutes at the grocery store with no ride home; car broken down on the side of the road; going crazy in the dorm room because you don’t have a ride to where the fun is; needing a certain recipe ingredient to make your special comfort food, but not being able to find it anywhere; not knowing how to deal with the overwhelming homesickness that attacks even the most traveled among us. They’ve all been there. And now we’ve all been there. And all we can continue to do is pass the wisdom and the favors down to the next incoming generation of Rossies.
So I can only conclude this short post by saying, to any future or potential Rossies who might be out there: You’ll be homesick. You’ll be confused. You’ll be frustrated beyond belief. You’ll have days when you want to just throw up your hands, kick your busted tires over a cliff and give up on it all. But don’t worry. Someone will be there to help you fish those tires out of the ocean, patch them up and follow you home. Because at the end of the day, you are one of us, and we don’t leave anyone behind.