We went to Wal-Mart on Saturday, and found it filled with incoming college freshmen and their nervous parents. It warmed my heart because it wasn’t too long ago that I was there too. We chose to get all of my last-minute supplies at Target instead of Wal-Mart, but that’s neither here nor there.
I remember the last night I spent in my room, a small room with a large window. There were sixteen boxes stacked by the door, one for each year of my life. I didn’t want to be afraid, but I didn’t know what else to be. I looked out the window at the moonlit street, knowing that tonight would be an ending of who I had been. Tomorrow would come a new beginning, but for now, all I had was my sad, little ending.
If I had known then what I know now, then I wouldn’t have been so afraid. But that night, I didn’t yet know that I would meet my very best friends there, that I would have an opportunity to study something I was passionate about, that I would finally find a place where I fit in. All I had was my fear and a handful of dreams. So I cried. I cried for the girl I was and the girl I had been, and I prayed that I would awake a woman who was strong enough to handle change. But morning came, and I was still the same.
That night came back to me as I pushed a half-empty cart around Wal-Mart, occasionally bumping into a freshman. I’m not even going to pretend I wasn’t a little jealous of them. Going away to college changed my life. It wasn’t until I was in the pursuit of a higher education that I came to know, and even like, myself. While away from everything familiar to me, I found that home is most often a people and not a place, and that you can find a home even when you’re all by yourself.
So if you’re feeling lonely, scared, or sad, know that you’re about to embark on the greatest adventure, and that you probably won’t even gain the freshman fifteen.