After spending three and a half amazing weeks back home in New Zealand, I started off my second semester at Rice walking into my dorm room to be warmly greeted by roommate, Oland, and suitemates, Diego and Ranferi.
Just one semester ago, we begun as three complete strangers who had not known of each other’s existences for the past 18 years. Born and raised in different countries and cities, the only thing we really had in common was the pursuit of an academic career at Rice.
But over a semester of getting to know each other’s pasts, presents, and futures, we’re starting off our second semester at Rice as a combined unit instead of four individuals. We do homework, have late night talks, complain about our problems, celebrate our successes, host prospective students, play sports, coordinate napping times, and so much more, all together.
In all honesty, I have no idea how Rice got it so right. With just a few filled out forms that gave an extremely vague and general gist of our interests and personalities, they managed to pick four students to room together who would slowly become one unit.
I’m so blessed to have met the people of Lovett 505 and 506 and cannot thank Rice enough for helping me do so.
Dealing with a seventeen hour time difference between Houston and New Zealand, severely awkward small talk with new people, and an exhausting, action-packed O-Week, I honestly struggled when I first arrived at Rice.
Amidst all the struggle, questions of ‘What if’ began to formulate in my head as I lay down in bed after an entire day of nonstop O-Week presentations and activities: “What if I chose to attend college closer to home?”, “What if I’m the only person who feels this way?”, and most importantly, “What if it doesn’t ever get better?”. Honestly, I was not in too great of a mental space at all.
But I’m glad to be able to say that things started to get much better once one of my O-Week moms, Erin, invited me to New Life Fellowship, a Christian fellowship group at Rice. Joining the group allowed me to momentarily get away from the quick pace of school, have deeper conversations about subject matters I value, and receive all the support I needed to adjust to Rice. I slowly grew the determination to build stronger relationships with people outside of church, embrace the college’s lively atmosphere, and ultimately become more involved in the tightly-knitted community. I could see myself slowly transitioning from an international student who felt like he would never fit in at Rice to a student who could call Rice his home and call his friends his family.
Oman House Church 🙂
Joining a religious fellowship at Rice may be something you’re interested in or something you would never decide to do. But because of the multitude of really interesting academically-oriented clubs, I feel like it’s extremely easy to forget the importance of finding a group of people who will be there for you during rough times, which in my case, is my house church. Although I’ve been here for only seven weeks, I know that these people will always have my back through thick and thin, mentor me throughout school, and make my Rice journey so much more enjoyable for many more weeks to come.