Highschool graduation: some people have been looking forward to this day since their first day of kindergarten. Suddenly, the past four years of ups and downs, sleep-deprivation, dances, rallies, football games, and musicals come to a grinding halt. Graduation snuck up on you. Somewhere - in the midst of college applications, rejections, and acceptances - school administration decided that you were prepared to enter the world. Only this time you weren’t kicking and screaming (or maybe you were, no judgment), this time, you had Algebra 2 in your back pocket, as well as the ability to ask where the bathroom is in the language of your choosing. This time, after months of planning your future and figuring out what you wanted to do with your life, the ball of responsibility and choices was in your court.
I couldn’t help but feel like a 5-year-old when I put on my black cap and gown. The only things missing from this game of dress-up were sparkly purple fairy wings and maybe some cowboy boots, just to throw people off. Despite numerous talks with my guidance counselor, trusted teachers, family, friends, and anybody else who cared enough to listen, it still felt like a dream. I’m not ready for college, I thought, I don’t even do my own laundry!
Almost a month later, it still doesn’t feel real. In three month’s time, I’ll be unpacking and moving into a new home with a new friend in a new city at a new school. Change has never been easy. That’s not to say I’m not thrilled… just conflicted. I find myself saying, “I’m pumped to go to college, but I’m nervous about leaving home.” While I’m beyond excited to start over and make new friends and explore the adorable city that is San Luis Obispo, I’m also scared to leave old friends behind and be more independent than I’ve ever been.
Never, in a million years, did I think I would be anything but ecstatic to leave the crooked roads and steep hills of my hometown behind, but here I am dreading my friends’ departures, my last trip to my favorite local shop, and my last home-cooked meal for a while. Sure, I’ll come back, but when I do, I’ll have a different home to go back to. I know that I’ll love Cal Poly; I’ve been there twice in the last month and I’m obsessed. I can’t wait to make Cal Poly my new home, I just don’t want to leave my current home behind in the process.
The only way I’ve come to accept these conflicting feelings is to understand that my fear of leaving home will never diminish how excited I am to start over at college just as my jump into new territory doesn’t mean I don’t love where I came from. I will never not want my mom’s cooking, but sometimes over-saturated ramen is what I’ll need.