Pulling out of the driveway, waving to my parents while tears streamed down my face, I started contemplating if I was ready to drive the 6 hours back to college for the summer or if I should get out of the car and give them one last hug. This might be the hardest goodbye yet.

Let's flashback to January of 2018 when I was still a senior in high school. Choosing a college out-of-state means that the cost of tuition is over the moon, and it is a no brainer to both my parents and me to find ways to cut that tuition down. After committing to the University of Missouri I knew I would have to live in Missouri the summer after my freshman year to gain residency, which happens to cut my tuition in half, due to becoming a Missouri resident.

In fact, Mizzou makes it easy for out-of-state students to gain that residency. In order to do so, you have to live in Missouri from August to August prior to the semester you plan to apply for residency. For me, I will be living on campus in Missouri this summer. With that being said, there are minimum requirements that I must complete, including proof of earning at least $2,000 of taxable income in Missouri during that 12 month qualifying period, proof of a Missouri driver's license, a copy of my Missouri voter's registration verification, and more.

Part of me is excited to spend the summer in a different state and explore with my fellow in and out-of-state pals, but the other part of me is sad to not be with my family or my friends who have already moved back home. Not to mention, seeing everyone pack up, move out the dorms and say goodbye to Mizzou for the summer makes me sad and a bit jealous.

Coming home to see my parents, enjoying home-cooked meals, seeing my favorite high school seniors play their final home soccer game, and congratulating my brother on graduating college in a short weekend before I head back to Mizzou for the summer was an absolute tease.

But hey, I am going to make the most of this summer. Just look at the bright side! I get to move out of my current dorm into a new one that is located right across from the MizzouRec, aka the outdoor pool is just steps away, I am rooming with one of my best friends, Olivia, I get to redecorate a whole new room, and the best yet, my three hometown pals are coming to visit in June. I am even taking an 8-week journalism class to ease the stress for the fall semester.

Speaking of less stress, this summer I also plan on taking time for myself and spend time doing things I am passionate about. This includes bullet journaling, hammocking and just enjoying a break from the previous and upcoming rigorous semesters. Oh, and I can't forget about the fact that I drove my car here for the summer. I will be able to explore off campus and the rest of Missouri. Road trips to Kansas City and St. Louis are calling my name.

Times when I feel sad and start dreading the anticipated summer homesickness, I text my parents about how I am feeling and how much I'll miss them. They reply with something like "we miss you like crazy...but it will go by fast, and before you know it, it will be August," but honestly, I actually don't want it to go too fast.

Freshman year went by within the blink of an eye and I just want to focus on living in the moment and enjoying where I am at right now. Yes, it will be difficult not waking up in my own bed, not riding bikes to town with my mom on the daily or not seeing the kiddos I nanny at least three times a week, but here's to new adventures in new places with new memories made.