May 18, 2011 3 Comments
Today marks the first day of the Philadelphia Urban Seminar, and I couldn’t be filled with more elation and anticipation. My day began earlier than usual, as I was awake early enough to finish some last-minute packing and call a taxi to transport me to Nittany Inn. The ride to Philadelphia wasn’t terrible; in fact, it went quicker than I expected. Upon arriving at the University, I was left with little to no indication of how this program would ensue. Nothing particularly spectacular, or worth mentioning, occurred until our van left to Walmart. My mood, my expectations, and my goals were all affected by this seemingly insignificant trip.
Upon arriving to Walmart, it was agreed that we would limit our shopping to 45 minutes. It was understood that we would be out of Walmart no later than 10:15pm. As we all were done shopping and patiently waiting in the van, we noticed it was 10:16pm and Cory (driver) was not in the van. I made it clear to everyone that he wasn’t more than two people behind me while we were waiting for the register. Regardless, we were still quite unsure as to what was taking him so long to return. Then, another one of the TAs had announced that he texted her saying he was being held up by a customer who was apparently disgruntled over a price discrepancy. The details were still not released, and before we could drive the van to the front of the Walmart entrance, Corey had finally walked out with bags occupying his hands.
Once Corey entered the vehicle, he was hysterical, and bursting with emotion. He was outraged by what happened in Walmart. Apparently, he was being held up because the customers in front of him were not pleased that the candy they wished to purchase was $1.00 and not $0.50. As Cory was telling his story, the students in the car could not stop laughing; Cory’s story was so animated. They way he told his story was funnier than ever because he was so enraged by the customer’s dissatisfaction with a $0.50 difference in price. Cory shouted, “I felt like telling her: Lady, I will gladly give you $0.50 if you allow this line to continue moving.” Cory then made it clear that even after transferring to a different line, he saw that the unhappy customers were still at the same register as he was exiting the store. As Cory continued to tell us his story, we were all laughing blissfully.
My first day here in Philly was powerful in that it has affected my hopes for this program. As a result of this priceless Walmart experience, I realized that my time here in Philly could very well be similar to that night. I noticed that I was in the car with great people, and my relationships with them will ultimately determine what I gain from this seminar. It hadn’t occurred to me that I would share laughs and accumulate stories to be shared. It also hadn’t occurred to me that I would finally understand the meaning of the expression: “the best things in life are free”. Meaning, I would find great pride in the simple things that are part of this seminar, such as the relationships and stories I build with my peers. I now realize that my next 2 weeks here could unfold in a similar fashion if I remain positive and outgoing. My hopes for this seminar have amplified after my first night, and I highly look forward to what I may encounter.
Tonight was another eventful night. As I walked upstairs to visit Katie, she brought it to my attention that she texted Cory to come and kill a bug for her. My first notion was that the bug couldn’t be that big, and perhaps she was being a typical female. I was terribly mistaken. The bug (still unidentified) was huge, and apparently it had the ability to fly, seeing as it had relocated from its last seen location. I admittedly told Cory that it was understandable why his services were needed, all while sharing memorable laughs with the TAs. The image of the bug is slightly disturbing however, it definitely holds significance to my experiences here in Philadelphia.