When last we spoke on the matter I was anxiously awaiting word from the University of Washington. If we’re friends on FB you may already know, but I thought I’d officially share the big news: ACCEPTED! In fact the letter said it was with great pleasure that I was offered admission. I know I was pleased! Especially when I read, “Through your application, we have appreciated both your accomplishments and hard work.” Whoo! Yes! Thank you, Udub, because education is an uphill battle. Behind every grade is an assignment that took hours to complete that I did with the utmost effort. Except Astronomy. Astronomy can suck it.

Anyway, I was honored and relieved. I didn’t apply to any other schools so if I didn’t get in it was going to be months before I could figure out a new plan. But I made it.

Mary Gates Hall

So, again, I was already honored when I got the letter, but our orientation session positively blew me away. We met at Mary Gates Hall. First they organized us into intended majors. My group was made up of interdisciplinary visual arts, painting & drawing, design, and art history. My people! I was so pleasantly surprised to see an old co-worker there. It’s always good to have a friend.

A few staff members came to speak with us and then we watched a few short films. That’s when they hit us with the facts. Over 4,000 transfer students applied to sit where we sat and were rejected. Our orientation leaders explained that the admissions officers were trained not only to find students who would excel, but who would be most likely to change the campus for the better. Alumni of note include Joel McHale, Mr Nordstrom of Nordstrom, Dale Chihuly, Chuck Close, Beverly Cleary, and Waldo Semon who invented vinyl and synthetic rubber. The inventor of disposable diapers! Bubble gum, like, you know, chewing gum was invented there. The inventors of the app One Bus Away, people! No pressure.

At this point they took us on a tour of the art building. My camera had been tucked away until we got to the basement. If you knew how poorly my camera handles low-light situations, you’d be laughing. Well, chuckling. But something about this pink sink in the basement needed remembering. Every floor has a hood room (unlike the 1 for the whole building at my community college) where you take anything you want to spray paint. All the remnants of past projects and graffiti made my mouth water. This is basically a closet and I could weep at how awesome it was. There are two glass blowing/forming studios, two rooms of seven-foot looms. ROOMS OF LOOMS! The textile studio was amazing with its wall of colored yarns and adjacent wall of dyes for the white yarns. There were large-format printers by the dozens. All the IVA students (me!) have their own cubicles with three big tables each for crafting. Someone should’ve told them giving me more space to stretch out and create is a bad idea. Ooh! Can’t wait!

Next we toured the campus in the hot, hot sun. Our guide was determined to show us things that were her favorite like secret sculptures and previous damage from firebombs with an emphasis on architecture. Loved her interpretation of the university’s history! It was a gorgeous day, so we got to see fountain and mountain. Udub is famous arboreally for its Japanese cherry blossoms surrounding the quad. I’ve seen them in early spring (below) and it’s breath-taking and breath-giving. Cause, you know, that’s what trees do. I was intrigued to learn that they were fully grown when transplanted onto the campus grounds. They thought the trees would die, but undertook the challenge of moving them rather than have them chopped down. And they lived! But every tree seemed to want to be leaned upon. We had a lunch of lasagna that was too delicious to photograph. All that walking made us hungry.

University of Washington Cherry Blossoms in Spring


We took pictures for our Husky Passes, then were whisked off to meet with counselors and schedule classes for fall. I sort of finagled my way into going first and then got to hang out while others had their turn. We went to the amphitheater for our final presentation. The dean of students explained that these four columns are from the original UDub campus. They stand for Loyalty, Industry, Faith and Efficiency. It’s tradition to touch the pillar that speaks to you in freshman year, then again at graduation. I chose efficiency because that’s something I’ve strived for throughout my time in college. I wish I could afford to just take classes all willy nilly, but it’s important to learn as diversely as possible while efficiently moving forward. The second tradition was to stand in a big circle and chant WHOSE HOUSE? DAWG’S HOUSE!

A mere 8 hours later and our orientation was a thing of the past. Even though my feet hurt I couldn’t help but walk around myself and visit the famous Harry Potter room at the Suzzallo Library. It was incredible! Right outside the reading room is a book that is 7 feet x 5 feet! Huge and beautiful. It’s exceptionally hard to photograph since it lives in a glass case, but look! They have special handlers who turn the page once a week. The heavy iron doors let you know you’re about to do some serious studying. And then huzzah! 35 foot windows! Beautiful relief carvings. Banquet style tables with long lamps. It really did feel Hogwarts-y inside.

7 foot book

Thanks for visiting my new school with me. I’m so excited to learn and invent and create. I’ll be getting to know the campus well beginning very soon. In the meantime, bring on the summer fun.



Author: Brianna Wray

I'm an artist in Seattle just living the dream.

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