Font size: - +
Mia stared down at her name tag.
Freshman- Accounting Major
She sighed. Was this how people identified each other at college, by name and major? Elena, Mia’s friend, had warned her, after Mia had first opened her letter for freshman orientation.
“Don’t tell anyone you’re an accounting major,” she’d said from behind the counter at Bee’s Books.
“Why not?” Mia had asked, her eyes focused on her shiny orientation brochure.
“They’ll think you’re boring.”
“I am boring,” Mia had said. “At least by most people’s standards.”
Elena had simply shaken her head. “It’s college, a fresh start. You don’t have to be boring.”
“I don’t mind being boring,” Mia had said. At that point, Elena had given up on trying to convince her otherwise.
Mia stared at the name tag again, letting it dangle from the complementary lanyard they’d given her in the Glensford College Orientation tote bag they’d given all the students at sign in. She didn’t know why it bothered her to see her name next to the words “accounting major”. It hadn’t bothered her before, not until Elena had brought it up.
“Iced latte for Mia,” a barista said. Mia shot up at the sound of her name. She’d let her thoughts carry her away again, nearly forgetting she was at Glensford College’s Melo Coffee, one of three on campus. She walked up and took her drink, before maneuvering her way through the crowded cafe. As she turned back, she realized everyone was sitting in groups, clumped together in booths and lounging around coffee tables. It wasn’t an understatement. Mia had been the only one sitting alone.
She sighed again. They were only two hours into orientation. How had everyone made friends already? She looked at her name tag, then back up. A group of girls walked past her, laughing together like they were posing for the cover of one of Glensford College’s welcome brochures. Mia caught a glimpse of one of their name tags. It definitely said accounting major. Well, there went Elena’s theory.
She kept walking, taking a sip of her latte every now and then. She wasn’t even thirsty. This was the only way she’d had of separating herself from the orientation group she’d been assigned to. They’d been given clues to follow for a scavenger hunt across campus. Mia had been assigned to a group of girls who couldn’t stop talking about the sorority they wanted to rush and about all the parties they wanted to attend. They’d seemed like nice girls, but Mia knew she had nothing in common with them. She wasn’t going to live on campus, and between working at Dulce Street, her family’s bakery, and trying to keep her grades up, she doubted there was a party anywhere in her future.
They’d given Mia a clue so she could find an item off the scavenger hunt list. That’d been over an hour ago. They’d agreed to meet back in the auditorium in fifteen minutes. Mia sighed for a third time. She unfolded the sheet of paper and found her clue.
I’m freshly printed once a week
Why not come to the Student Union Room 2207 and take a peek?
It took her a second but then she remembered Glensford College had a student run newspaper housed in the Student Union. Mia was tempted to pick up a copy from one of the racks of newspapers around her, but she knew the scavenger hunt item was probably in the office itself. And once the scavenger hunt ended she could go meet with her advisor to sign up for classes and finish her scholarship paperwork.
Mia passed more groups of fellow freshmen and made her way to the Student Union. She opted for stairs, taking them two at a time, until she could feel her blouse sticking to her back. Then she sped walk down a hallway of doors until she found Room 2207. There was a woman behind a desk. Behind her, Mia could see other doors and what looked like a lounge area.
“Hi,” Mia said, with her best adult voice. “I’m here for the scavenger hunt.”
The woman looked up, her brown eyes calm. She didn’t look too much older than Mia, maybe twenty, twenty-one. “Oh right,” she said. “Um, you’ll want to go our editor in chief’s office. Second door on the right. He has the new copies of the newspaper.” Then she tilted her head. “You know you could’ve just picked up a newspaper from one of the racks outside.”
Mia bit down her words and simply nodded. “Thank you,” she said and made her way to the editor in chief’s office, whoever he might be. She knocked once.
A second later, a male voice said, “Come in.”
Mia breathed in. She took a sip of her latte, which at this point just tasted like caffeinated water. She turned, trying to figure out an answer in case the editor in chief asked her why she hadn’t just picked up a copy of the newspaper outside.
“Hi,” she began as she stepped inside.
“Hey, are you here-” the voice stopped. She looked up, now frozen.
Lucas Silva stood in front of her. His expression went from welcoming to confused and then back into a smile.
“Mia,” he said. “What are you doing here?”
He asked the question with such ease, like the two of them were more than acquainted. Mia couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen Lucas. His younger brother, Marco, had been dating Elena for almost eight months now, but she hadn’t seen Lucas since their one awkwardly shared car ride after a New Year’s party she should have never gone to.“I’m here for orientation,” Mia said.