I was 20 years old and had just gotten home from studying abroad in Spain in the summer of 2004. It was a fun & not so fun trip all at the same time. I made friends & lost friends, came home lonely & frustrated with where my life was, & at the same time came home completely excited about the world & all its possibilities. That trip also made me realize that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back to the college I was currently attending. Spain had completely opened my eyes to a new world, a bigger world, and I wanted more of it.
On the day I was supposed to move back to campus I decided that it was time to transfer schools. I went from a college of 600 students where I had lots of friends to a university of 20,000 where I knew ONE person.
Seven days before classes started for the fall semester my mom and I loaded up her minivan with my dorm room stuff. We headed up the freeway to my new school. I didn’t have a dorm room, I didn’t have any friends on campus, I didn’t have a class schedule, heck I hadn’t even officially been accepted yet (and as I’m typing this I’m starting to think I was a tad bit crazy.) Somehow my mother worked a miracle to get me accepted in a matter of hours, she found me the LAST dorm room available on campus, and found me the last 12 hours available for a class schedule to fit inside the major I wanted.
A few days later we moved me into my dorm that housed about 600 people. Yes, 600 people! That’s how many people I was accustomed to being on campus with at a time, not living with in a dorm! Once I was all moved in my mom
pried me off of her ankles as I was screaming & crying, begging her not to leave me left. I think she cried as she walked down the hallway to the elevator but she didn’t let me see. I cried, but didn’t let her see me shed a tear or see that I was shaking from head to toe in fear. I didn’t want her to know I was terrified (she knew though–she’s my mom.)
The first day of classes started. I literally got out the campus map, placed it on my bed & memorized the routes to my classes. I walked to class, not sure if the butterflies in my stomach were from sheer excitement or sheer terror. It was probably a whole lot of both.
I was lonely for a semester. I was scared for a semester. By spring, the place finally felt like “home away from home.” It opened my world to my degrees in Spanish & Latin American Studies. It opened my door to studying abroad in Mexico. It opened my door to Todd. It opened my door to endless possibilities of hope, dreams, & building my life to be the one I wanted, not one other people wanted for me.
It was one of the scariest decisions I ever made. It was one of the bravest decisions I ever made. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. It is one I would make over & over again if ever asked to repeat it.
This post is a part of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. My first time participating!
Alyson -- Common Sense, Dancing says
Boy, your post brought me back to my college days — to a study-abroad experience….it wasn't similar at all but I guess your whole setting brought me back….
Don't you love that you can look back now and realize how brave you were?
What a wonderful, inspiring post! I'm at a point in my life (albeit not 20 and in college), where I really want to get out there, take risks, and live how I've always wanted to – not what's comfortable and easy. I needed this pep talk today! – Thank you for stopping by Windy Poplars and saying hello! I'm not really all that talented in the sewing arts…but thank you for your kind comments! You're a dear! Have a great day…
MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) says
We live in a state college town (this is not my hometown – we moved here 7 years ago for work). I think the majority of high school students go to the local university. Some live on campus or in apartments, but others continue to live with their parents. They have the same friends as they had in high school. They graduate and never leave. In a few ways, I envy the strength of their roots, but I'm not sure that's what I want for my children exactly.
I had a professor in college who mentioned his rule for his children was that they had to attend a university in a different time zone. That seems a bit extreme, but I think the concept is great…I think you learn so much more than just the curriculum if you're forced out of your comfort zone.
16a11c3515fWe admire what you have done right here. I like your enleemt in which you state you are carrying out this kind of to give back on the other hand would certainly presume through each of the responses which is working for you as well. Have you got anymore info on this kind of? 18b
I remember when I found out you were up here because you had somehow ended up in a dorm room with some of my friends!
Great post! I wish that I had made the choice to go to a larger university when I was younger! It would have been an amazing, scary, and emotional time, but well worth it!
Shelby Bukhenik says
Wow that is amazing that you made that move! In the end you have to do whats right for you, but sometimes 20 somethings don't know that the decisions they make then affect the rest of their lives!
Isn't it amazing to look back though!
Ry's Mama says
Jus tstopped by from Mama Kat's…
Wow! That is stepping out of your comfort zone…but it sounds like it was an amazing experience. I really admire people that can do that. I'm far too much of a scaredy cat!
Navigating college, life, and new experiences can be tricky. Sounds like you did a great job!
Stopping over from Mama Kat's.
Gringation Cancun says
I LOVED this post. Thanks for making yourself so vulnerable 🙂
My experience was different from yours, but I can definitely say the scariest decision I ever made was also the best… moving to Cancun. Like your story, it sounded crazy at the time… but things sure did turn out awesome for both of us, right?
Mothers' Hideaway says
I love it! I was so excited to start college and it was definitely worth leaving everything behind. I'm glad you had the same experience!
A Long Drive
I'd just like to say 'your mom is a star'. Moving to a new environment where you knew no one must have been a traumatic time for you but I'm sure after a few weeks you had settled in nicely.
The Literary Lioness says
Your mother sounds like a real go-getter! Anyway, glad it turned out well!
Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds says
That's a lot of people living together. I'm so glad you succeeded outside of your comfort zone!
macgyver mom says
How wonderfully brave of you. And what a supportive Mom you have. Thanks for stopping by, I will be following you now too! 🙂
You followed your heart, girl! That's bold and brave and I salute you for that. Reading this makes me wants to experience college there 😀
What a great experience! I hope I can be as brave a mom as your was when it comes to encouraging my daughters to have those great experiences! I think mine was too scared to have me away from home.
visiting from Mama Kat.
Kristin @ Ellie-Town says
Stopping by from SITS…
I went off to college and did not know a single person. It was scary for the first few weeks by by Thanksgiving I didn't want to leave! One of the best things I have ever done.
I'm a new follower and can't wait to read more!