Most people fantasize about their dream colleges since they were young, every high schooler looks forward to receiving their acceptance letters but no one tells you how hard it hits you when you realize this is also your last goodbye to the life you once knew.
You realize that time spent at home should be reserved for the people you love. The city you grew up in might have a new building here and there that popped up while you were gone. Your parents might turn your room into storage. The home you once knew and loved isn't going to be what you remembered it as and the people you knew aren't going to be the same.
Things change. That's the beauty of the life we live in, nothing is set in stone.
As my high school days came to an end, all the drama, the horrendous makeup, and (what felt like) the longest four years ever slipped away from me. Everything turned into "the last." The last high school dance, last time we'd eat lunch together, last time we'd sit in the morning school zone traffic, last time we'd all be in one place with the people we grew up with. As the queen of reminiscing, I had a hard time with the idea of letting go of the high school traditions.
It was like all the bad memories were sifted out like dirt and I was only left thinking about the diamond memories.
The summer leading up to the new chapter in my life was filled with nostalgic memories of childhood friends. Whether it be going to the beach that we shared numerous bonfires at, or eating breakfast at the local cafe that we used to go to instead of going to our first period, or driving past our high school and realizing the next school year isn't going to be spent in those halls, I couldn't imagine any possible way that my life could be better. And as I drove down familiar roads one last time before I left, I questioned, "Why am I leaving my perfectly good life?" The only thing running through my brain was, "Why?"
I was surrounded by people I loved, I lived in a city I adored, my life was everything I could've asked for and more.
Things were finally falling into place. So another "why" question was brought up, "why do you want to move five hours away to the middle of nowhere?" my parents constantly asked. As the first one in my family to go to a four-year university, they had a hard time understanding why I was adamant about attending a school five hours away.
Honestly, I questioned it too. I was leaving everything I loved to take a chance on a school that I hadn't even gone to visit until AFTER I paid my admission deposit. As the summer months turned into summer days, I felt uneasy about leaving the comfort of everything I knew.
Then the day came: Move-in day. I woke up at 4 in the morning with puffy eyes and my stomach turning as I knew after this day, started a new chapter in my life. I totally wasn't ready. As my parents and I lugged my boxes up the flights of stairs and began unpacking, all I wanted to say was, "please don't leave me."
I'll never forget seeing my dad cry for the first time as we hugged goodbye. I thought I'd be homesick endlessly.
But once the weekends were reserved for Cougar Football Saturday traditions and meeting some of the best friends I thought I'd only find back home, I knew two things: one that this was the best decision of my life and Washington State University was one of a kind. Thank you, WSU for teaching me that you can find paradise anywhere you go. Thank you for proving me wrong, I won't be homesick forever (but I'll definitely be homesick for Pullman over the next four months). Thank you for making me realize, you need to let go of the past to fall in love with how your life could turn out to be.
Don't live your life in comfort.
I'll always hold near and dear the memories of Friday night lights, grabbing doughnuts at 1 A.M. and walking around Target aimlessly to make terrible puns. But leaving the familiarity of my childhood will always leave me questioning, "what else have I been missing?" I'll always crave the idea of finding somewhere else to fall in love with, whether it be Pullman now or god knows where I'll be in three years.
Thank you for being everything I never knew I needed. Thank you, WSU for being the best decision of my life.
You always find your way back home.