If you read my post last Friday than you already know that all this week both Miss Print and I will be posting about Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr’s latest book Roomies. Today, on both blogs we will be discussing last summers and our first steps into college.
I had several college experiences. But my first one will always stand out to me. I decided that I wanted to go away for college but not so far where I couldn’t get home in a pinch. So I decided to go to school in Virginia. Why? In short, it was far enough away from home, but still close to family.
With having decided on a college prior to leaving high school I thought my last summer home would be a breeze. I would work and spend as much time with my friends and family as humanly possible. And for the most part that’s what I did.
Since I was sixteen I worked every summer with the company in which my mother works for. There I was able to, not only gain job experience, but also had the chance to earn some extra money. At the time it was important to me to save as much as I could because I knew, for at least my first year, I didn’t want an on campus job. My first year at college I wanted to spend solely focusing on my education, and situating myself to this new college life. That summer job gave me the chance to do exactly that.
Besides working, I spent as much time with my friends and my family – that meant going to a few concerts, and spending time at my families shore house at the Jersey shore with some of the most important people of my life.
Everything was as I planned, so when it was really time to leave, I didn’t think I would have a hard time. Leaving my friends was hard, but leaving my family proved to be more difficult.
That last week before my mother and I packed the car and headed South I spent with my family at our shore house. I relaxed, I enjoyed being with the people who ultimately made me the person I was and still am, and I pushed all the emotions attached to leaving aside. Out of sight, out of mind, right?!
Well the week didn’t last long. And I couldn’t push those feelings aside anymore. I was happy – happy to have been accepted into a college, happy to start this new chapter of my life. I was scared – scared to leave behind the familiar and step into the unfamiliar. I was scared of how my life would change, of how I would change. I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the packing and the preparing, overwhelmed by all the feelings. Ultimately, I was sad. Sad to say goodbye to all the people who matter most to me. I was sad even though I knew that I would see them again, even though I knew they were only a simple phone call away. I was sad because I knew it wasn’t going to be the same. And honestly,not only did it make me sad, it made me second guess my decision. Was going away the right choice?
But I pushed on because ultimately I knew that I was making the right choice for myself. And I knew, even though I was saying “goodbye” it really wasn’t goodbye at all. With all my feelings I realized that goodbye wasn’t goodbye. It was “see you later.” But still, I cried – big ugly tears – when I left. After all, not only was I leaving behind friends and family, I was leaving behind a whole life. I didn’t get to take that whole life with me, instead I had to pick and choose the important pieces to take with me.
Looking back, I realize now that I took those “first steps” before actually reaching the college gates. Those first steps were me, not physically, but mentally preparing myself for the next step in my life. And if I didn’t mentally prepare myself, I honestly do not think I would have been physically ready to leave my hometown, my friends and my family, ultimately my life before college.
Going to college wasn’t easy, but it was step that I conquered.