"...and I think we'll leave it there for now. If anyone has any further questions, I'll be in the common room for the next half hour."
Noah's attention was recaptured as the balding man at the front of the room wrapped up his speech. He stretched the cramps of the last hour from his limbs and quickly ducked out of the room, left the building and headed back towards his car. An unfamiliar wave of doubt washed over him as he sat in the threadbare driver's seat and rifled through the campus maps and introductory pamphlets in his hands. They'd been passed around at the meeting, but Noah hadn't taken much notice of them or what had been said. After all, how different could this place be from the school he'd been attending for the last year and a half? A university was a university.
Noah knew he didn't really believe that, but it's what he had to keep telling himself. If he let himself remember that this was one of the most prestigious universities in the country and he'd wanted to study here since as long as he could remember, his nerves might get the better of him. Or if he let himself remember that he was only here because he'd received a last-minute academic scholarship, and could consequently lose that scholarship at any time, he might begin to panic. Transferring in at the start of the second semester of his second year was enough to worry about. Right now all Noah wanted to do was find his dorms and get settled into his new room.
After consulting the pale pink campus map, Noah slowly and carefully pulled out of the students' car park, the amount of ice on the ground a clear indicator that most of the students had not yet returned from their winter break. There was still a week until classes started after all – Noah had only come this early for his induction meeting. He sighed as he made his way slowly through the deserted campus; this week was going to be a lonely one.
Eventually, after many a frustrating wrong turn, Noah found himself pulling into the near-empty car park of his new home – Cartwright Hall. There were only a few other cars in the lot, including a sleek black Mercedes, which stood in sharp contrast to his own shabby second-hand car which one would usually expect to find outside a university dorm. Bracing himself against the chilly January breeze, Noah admired the fancier cars for a few moments, wondering if they belonged to students or staff, before grabbing a couple of his bags from the boot of his car and hurrying up the front steps of the tall, grey-bricked building.
The interior of the entrance hall was a lot fancier than he was used to – a marble tiled floor, plush red sofas creating common seating areas around coffee tables, and an elevator instead of stairs. Noah looked around in disbelief before consulting the room key in his welcome pack and heading for the silver elevator doors. Once inside, he pushed the button for the seventh floor, and turned to evaluate himself in the mirror which lined the top half of the elevator walls. He looked tired; light purple rings under his light brown eyes stood in sharp contrast to his pale skin, and his hair was sticking up in unusual places.
Four doors led off the small landing outside of the elevator; Noah approached suite A and softly slid his key into the lock, wondering whether or not any of his suitemates were here yet. The common area of his suit was just as tastefully decorated as the entrance hall had been – black leather sofas and armchairs arranged around a coffee table, a wide screen television, and an open-plan kitchen hidden behind a breakfast bar were the main features which stood out. Beside the kitchen to Noah's right was a door with a gold number one screwed on to the front, and to his left were doors labelled with '2' and '3'. Noah rifled through the papers in his hand once again to find that he was in room 3.
Pushing the wooden door open slowly, Noah found his room to be a lot larger than he had expected – certainly larger than he was used to in university accommodation. It was fitted out for two people, with two large double beds, two dressers, two desks, and an en suite bathroom and the far end. He wasn't sure whether it was a blessing or a curse to have a roommate. On the one hand, it probably meant he'd at least have one friend, but on the other he had suitemates for that and living in such close proximity to another person could be torture, as Noah well knew from his first semester at his old school. Sighing lightly to himself, he set his few bags down on the apparently uninhabited side of the room, closest to the bathroom, and made his way back to his car to retrieve the rest of his stuff. He decided to spend the rest of the evening unpacking and getting settled before just chilling out and getting an early night, exhausted from his long drive to the campus from home. He had a whole week to explore the campus before classes began anyway.