To celebrate my birthday, I drove to Tampa after school on Friday and spent the weekend with my sister, Rachael, at the University of South Florida. I don't get to see her a lot so it's always nice to visit, but this was a busy weekend on campus and I got a true taste of the college experience.
The drive from Sebring to Tampa was the longest distance I've ever driven by myself. At first, I was overcome by excitement, which soon turned to boredom and eventually annoyance. The long, straight roads and heavy traffic made for a monotonous and slow trip, and upon arriving at my sister's apartment I stumbled out of the car, plagued with tired legs.
On Friday night my sister and I met up with some of her friends and went out to eat, then visited my cousin Tyler, who is also a student at USF. I haven't seen Tyler in a long time and it was nice to hear that he is doing well in college. After meeting some of his friends (who I quickly learned shared all of his interests: fishing, eating, and talking to girls) my sister and I bid them adieu and headed back to her apartment.
Saturday night, my sister and I attended a fundraiser called Putting on the Hits (POTH), a dance show featuring routines from fraternities and sororities. Judges chose winners for both the men and women. As I watched, I noticed that the fraternities' goals were to make the crowd laugh while the sororities' were to show off their beautiful technique. It was very entertaining and only made better by my sister's funny stories about her friends who were about to dance.
After POTH, Rachael took me to a bonfire at a friend's house. There were about 20 people there and we listened to music, made s'mores and joked about the ridiculous dance routines we had just witnessed. The night was a little chilly and it was great to sit by the fire.
By far, the highlight of my weekend was the running joke that my sister and I had formulated before ever going out. Usually when I go visit Rachael she tells everyone that I'm her 16-year-old brother coming from high school to see her. This time, however, we decided to tell everyone I met that I was her 19-year-old brother visiting from my freshman year at Harvard. Thanks to No-Shave-November I look the part, and with my knowledge from application research about Harvard and the movie "The Social Network", I could play the part as well.
My first test came at dinner Friday night when my sister's friend Joel started to ask about me. We had already told him I was 19 and he began to vocalize his curiosity about my education.
"So Jared, are you at USF too?"
"No, actually I'm in my first year at Harvard. I just came to visit for Thanksgiving break." I replied.
"Oh wow, that's awesome! What is your major?"
"Actually," I said, "we call them concentrations, but I'm taking political science classes right now."
After a few minutes of conversation I revealed to him that I had been lying and he applauded my performance. Soon after, another girl named Raivyn said she had overheard that I was a student at Harvard and asked how Cambridge looked in the fall.
I was quick to reply: "I rarely get out with all my studying, but the view from my dorm room window is gorgeous!"