There is just something about Flagstaff that pulls you in. Maybe it's the gorgeous white winters. Or maybe it's those to die for yellow calliopsis that peek out in the Spring and Summer. How about that fact that it's only a 30-45 minute drive from the red rocks in Sedona? Or only an hour away from waking up in the morning just to watch the sunset at the Grand Canyon. There is something special and unique about living in Flagstaff. It's not everyday that your living 7,000 feet higher then everyone else, in a small mountain town of nearly the most down to earth and friendly people. From those gourmet hole in the wall food joints to the unforgettable downtown night life, having to leave Flagstaff after four years was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.
My first semester in Flagstaff wasn't easy, as I found myself missing my hometown of Southern California. I missed the beach, and I missed my friends and family. Four years later, I sit in my room wishing I could of graduated in 5 years, or have found some way to stay in college longer. I miss the independence of being away from home the most. I miss the late nights out with friends. I miss the spontaneous trips to the creek in Sedona and Phoenix. I miss the snow days when teachers would cancel classes, as we got to spend those days hanging out with our friends and binge out on Netflix all day. I even miss those days where my best friends and I would grab our favorite snacks and loads of coffee from Starbucks and spend our time studying into the late night hours at the school library.
Going to NAU was like going to school with one big family, as people were so laid back. It was never a competition in Flagstaff, as everyone showed up to class in leggings, flannels, and boots. The laid back looks of NAU's students complemented their personalities, as everyone was so friendly and non judgmental. I remember being nervous and excited as my dad and I drove 7 hours for the start of my freshmen year. I also remember wondering my dad was so adamant about sending me away for college. Those four years made me understand why. At the time, I was upset at him for making me leave home to go to college, I slightly resented him for it. Four years later however, I realize that it was hands down the best thing that my father ever did for me. I can't imagine my life without going to NAU.
They say that high school is the best time in your life, but I disagree. Nothing compares to the independence of being being able to leave home to go to college. Flagstaff saved me and made me a better person. My fours years in Flagstaff were my best, but it wasn't something that I would realize right away.
Graduating college made me realize that adulting isn't as glamorous as I thought it would be. Working a full time job is great- it pays the bills, and the experience is ideal. But I would much rather be in Flagstaff hanging out at The Mayor with my best friends, or going star gazing during the late night hours and not having to wake up till noon the next morning because my first class wasn't till 2pm. So to those who are still in college reading this, or to those who are still in high school: you are about to endure the best four years of your life. Enjoy it. Make moments last. Capture your best moments, and never take a second for granted. Coming from a college graduate who would do anything to go back.