It was six o’clock in the evening. I sat in the courtyard of an Italian Renaissance villa and looked around at the statues, especially one of a boy removing a thorn from his foot. Despite the supposedly relaxing environment, I was incredibly anxious. My phone had less than 5 percent battery and if it were dead I would have been completely disconnected from my family and peers, alone in one of the largest art museums in the country.
As a perk of being an honors student here in Loyola, the entire freshman honors class left for New York City and the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 7:00 a.m. last weekend. I felt pretty confident about the whole thing; I had packed everything I needed and made plans the week before with some friends from my Messina group.
On the bus, I asked if they, like me, planned to stay at the museum all day. I wanted to get the most out of one of the most prestigious museums in the world. I was honestly quite surprised when they made plans to see “Les Miserables”. To be fair, it was also on their part at the last minute, and I accept some of the blame for not following up on our initial conversation. I wasn’t mad at them. I thought I was okay as long as I didn’t leave the museum.
After impromptu lunch, I went to the Greek and Roman Wing for a tour led by our Messina teachers. Then I wandered through the museum, had the time of my life, contemplating the wide variety of art on display. After eating something in the cafeteria in the basement, I noticed that my phone battery was low. It was 4:30pm and we weren’t supposed to get back to the bus until 6:30am. Now, as grown adults, the bus wouldn’t wait for us — it left at exactly seven o’clock. I mean it. The route even gave numbers for the train station.
I was a little nervous at the time. My phone was my only clock and only connection to my Messina group, parents and the rest of the world. If I stopped taking pictures and texting, the battery would last until I was on the bus and could text my mom that I was safe. But after a round of souvenir shopping and notified my mom, who thought my friends — or at least my teachers — had been with me all day, my phone was dying. And then I was there, sitting on one of the few benches I could find (my feet were deadly) trying to keep calm.
Luckily for my nerves, one of my last few texts was from my Messina group, most of which met on the stairs. As we got together, I tried to text my mom, but my phone died in my hands. I was nervous at the time, afraid I would be left alone to die in the city. I stayed with the crowd of students as we wandered the city streets and finally got on the bus.
The first thing I did when I got back was text my mom that I was okay after my phone got some juice. The day had been good. It might have been nice to have someone else with me, but I took care of myself, like the independent adult the rest of the world considers me. It will probably be a while before I consider myself that way.