Summer of 2004, Cinderella Story came out in theaters at a time when Hilary Duff was upon the top of the charts. At six years old, I watched that movie over and over again, memorizing the script and wishing to live a life where I could drive away in the distance, heading to college.

Twelve years later, I am now just days away from “driving away in the distance”, except I am not going away to an ivy league school, I have a home to come to and my boyfriend won’t be attending the same school as me.

College has been something that I have been looking forward to for the last decade. During my early teenage years when things with my parents were not good, because I could not grasp the concept of accountability and respect, the “University of Mars was not far enough away” like Sam Montgomery said in the movie. I searched far and wide as a freshman looking for a college that interested me and the amount of distance I wanted between my family and I.

Adding a few years of maturity to the mix, let’s just say that rational thoughts and ideas are what got me to where I am today. Thinking back on the way I felt about college then and what I am feeling now are completely different. Then, I thought that college would just be me moving out and going to another school.

When in reality, it has been a total life changing experience. At this point we have started the process of moving on into the real world and are just one step closer to capturing our dreams. Never did I think there would be an emotional side to going to college. Such as leaving your friends, family, and even pets behind as you begin a new chapter in your life in a totally new location. Never did I think that packing up my belongings and putting things in boxes for move in day would create a flood of emotions: anxiety, hesitation, doubt, and most importantly excitement for the things yet to come. Five years ago, I did not understand the financial aspect of college and what it really takes to get started.

Being someone who has been counting the days until college from before senior year even started, I just would like to say that time couldn’t be going any faster than what I’m experiencing right now. As much as I wanted this part of my life to be just like the Cinderella Story, the actual experience is much more stressful, complicating and bittersweet.