What a year! College was everything and NOTHING like what I expected. Life takes on a whole new meaning here. I've learned a lot of lessons, some good, some I would have rather seen than gone through, and some I'm glad I only had to see rather than go through. I don't know how much of this was a self-discovery trip; I don't really think I learned much more about myself that I didn't already know. The difference here is that I've had to apply my skills in many ways other than how I was used to applying them and in some cases, I wasn't quite ready for that. But I made it. Based off my experiences this year, I know what I'm NOT going to be doing next year and the years after that.
You think while you're in high school that you're on your own. You think that you're grown, that you make your own decisions. But being on your own in high school is nothing like being in college. This is true independence (for most people). I sure know I was cut off from a lot of the creature comforts of home that I once took for granted, like bathtubs and washing machines and stoves. But college gave me the freedom that comes along with independence that I had never felt. I don't know how I'm going to be able to handle having a curfew again after spending so many nights out until 3 or 4 in the morning. I don't know how I'm going to take not being close to everything I need, from food to the library to just internet access. I'm going to miss taking free public transportation (that is, until next year when it all starts over again).
I don't know if I've ever written about this, but one of the first experiences I vividly remember on campus was one day in the first week of classes. I had been on campus for probably about a week, week and a half, and everything was still kind of new. I remember walking close to the Holmes Student Center ( the students know this area as the MLK Commons) and for some reason I was compelled to look up at the tower of the Student Center. I felt an overwhelming rush of sweltering pride looking at the peak of the tower against the clear blue sky, and it almost took my breath away. In that very moment I was convinced that there was no other school but Northern for me. No other sight was as majestic or heart stopping as that one moment when i came to a dead stop and just gazed at the tower. Everything became crystal clear: my questions, my concerns, my feelings, everything. I never thought a school building would have that effect on me, but it did.
I cried when I had to leave home and come to school. My heart sank as I said goodbye to the cute little red house in the middle of the block and hello to the rows and rows of cornfields. I wanted to cry when my mom dumped my stuff in the room, chatted with my roommates and their families, then left. Talking to my grandmother on the phone hurt because I knew she was at home alone and that I should be there for her. I couldn't stop thinking about what I was leaving behind in Chicago. But now I'm leaving home again. For 9 months DeKalb has become my home and my friends, my family. Now we are all about to go our separate ways. Though we will likely hang out over the summer, it won't be the same as when i could walk 10 minutes to see my boyfriend, or walk across the street to see Janet, or even just appear in a lunchroom and see 7 other OhDeez with that ONE person with a meal plan. Trips to 7/11 three times a day will be a thing of the past. Andrew staying in Amardo's room then leaving to go to bed only to come back 5 minutes later will be done. Everyone else has been through this before and knows the drill...but as a freshman I feel like I'm never coming back, even though I know I am.
See you in August, NIU.