Making the Move

This past weekend, I loaded up all of my stuff into a car, truck, and trailer back home in Minnesota and moved it all into my new apartment in Champaign, Illinois, just blocks from campus where I’ll be starting school in just a couple weeks!

I had been working to pack up my things since the beginning of the summer, slowly taking over my parents’ basement as I brought things home from my grandparents’ house and my apartment at school. I was fortunate to be able to get so many things handed down from my grandparents that I didn’t have to buy much for the apartment.

On Friday night, my brother borrowed his mother-in-law’s truck and we picked up a UHaul trailer. It was a much longer process than necessary because it wasn’t at an actual UHaul store and the guy didn’t know how to check out the trailer. Nonetheless, we finally got it an brought it to my parents’ house where I had brought all of my boxes and furniture out to the garage. With the help of my brother, his friend, his wife, my father, and my mother, we had all of my stuff loaded in less than an hour!

Later that night, I picked up my boyfriend, Tim, and brought him back to my parents’ house so that we could get up and leave early the next morning. We got up at 6, went to McDonalds to pick up breakfast for the traveling group, and returned to find that my brother had arrived. My brother drove the truck with trailer and my mom rode with him while Tim rode with me in my car.

A little over eight hours and a few stops later, we arrived at the realtor where I needed to pick up my keys in Champaign, Illinois. While my mom had been pestering me to call and make sure that I could pick up my keys when I got there, I never got around to it, and we faced locked doors to the realtor office. This was bad news since my brother and mother had to leave the next morning to head back home. I frantically called the emergency number for the company and as I was talking to someone the owner opened the door and gave us the key. It was a close scare that will surely never happen again!

We quickly got everything into the apartment from the trailer so that my brother and I could return it. We then went to find the nearest liquor store since beer is an essential part of unpacking, naturally. I was happy to find that liquor stores are open on Sundays here, a nice change from Minnesota. We took a break to go eat and I found that there was many more shops in the area than I had seen when I came to look for apartments earlier this year, another nice find. By the end of the night, nearly everything was unpacked. Just a few boxes remained and pictures needed to be hung up, but that was pretty much it for work that needed to be done!

The next morning, my brother and mom got up at 6 to head back to Minnesota. It was hard to say goodbye, but as my mom had to tell herself, it was as if I lived on the other side of Minneapolis and was just too busy to see them. Surely, the time until I’m home for Thanksgiving will fly by.

Tim stayed with me and we shopped for the few remaining things I needed for the apartment and drove around to explore the city. We went to the mall and I bought my first actual Illinois clothing! The only other shirt I’ve owned is a hate shirt that simply says, “Illinois, do you even have a mascot?” Not that much hate, but a hate shirt nonetheless (they don’t have a mascot anymore because it was an Indian and the NCAA found it inappropriate). We went to the movie theater near the town that night. Although it’s only been a couple days, I already felt like I knew my way around.

The next day I had my first meeting with my graduate department to sign my stipend agreement. Unfortunately it hadn’t been sent to the department yet but I did get my picture taken for the graduate school records! Later in the afternoon, I met with the professor that I’m most interested in having as a thesis advisor. His lab is a large chemistry lab focused on development of small molecules as anticancer drugs. I got some papers from him to read and I’ll let him know in a couple days if I for sure want to rotate with him. Now, I just need to line up 5 more professors as potential thesis advisors that a committee will choose from to pick my 3 rotation labs.

The rest of Monday and Tuesday, Tim and I just enjoyed spending time together. He had been waiting for the package with my Xfinity internet starter kit on Monday while I was out but we apparently missed it because my doorbell doesn’t work and surely the delivery man tried that and with no answer just left a note. After some struggle with an unfriendly UPS employee at the customer service center, we got the package via will call. Unfortunately it didn’t have a modem, so we still had to find a Comcast customer service center to get that Tuesday morning. We later walked around campus so he and I could get a better feel of the place and get out of the apartment a little bit. I dropped him off at the airport later in the afternoon and finally had to say goodbye. It was rough, but we’ll see each other later in September in Madison, so at least we have something kind of soon to look forward to!

Now I’m all alone here in Chambana, but I have plenty to do to keep me occupied. I need to contact more professors and hopefully meet with them. I need to get my I-Card, my student ID. I need to get other things set up like car insurance and car registration. And grad school orientation starts this Friday! Looking forward to what’s to come!

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Hanna is a MD/PhD student at the University of Illinois and an aspiring physician scientist who aims to specialize in hepatobiliary cancers. She is also passionate about teaching, leadership, and advocacy. The energy she once used to pep up crowds as a college marching band member is now directed toward exciting and educating others about science and medicine, especially through her tweets at @MDPhDToBe and her blog at www.mdphdtobe.com.

Posted in Graduate School, Life, Medical School

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