What Going Away To College Taught Me

What Going Away To College Taught Me

Growing up I always had the perfect life.

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Growing up I always had a perfect life. Two parents who loved me, all the friends in the world, and not a care in the world. I'd stay out late, or not even come home, I'd disobey my parents all the time, and I'd never do homework but still kept a 4.0. It was a life that most wanted, and I was lucky enough to have that. However, that all changed when I got to college.

It was a gorgeous August day when I moved from Tennessee to Georgia. The birds were chirping, the sun was blaring on my skin, and the smell of freshman moving into their dorm filled the air. I was in the places I wanted to be, but that wouldn't last for long.

After I was all moved in and ready to start classes, I began to freak out. I was in a place where no one knew me, I had no friends, and I wanted to have my parents giving me rules again. I would wake up every day and count until the next time I went home. I would just want to crawl back in bed. The only joy I had was eating.

This lasted for several weeks until my mom had a not-so-fun speech. She told me I needed to realize I am an adult now and life wouldn't be the same no matter where I lived. She told me to take each day with a smile and start reaching out to people in my classes.

Because of this talk, I began to try and make more friends and turn my life here into what it was at home. I started joining clubs and staying out of my dorm. I began to grow up and make young-adult life decisions.

Moving away to college taught me how to step up and not be a child. It taught me to reach out to people, to make decisions without my parents guiding me, and how to be mature. I couldn't run and hide from my problems and school work anymore. It taught to time manage, to handle stress, and to always make sure to never let my emotions get the best of me.

Moving away to college taught me all of this, and I am sure that if I stayed in my hometown and went to UTK, I would have never gotten these lessons so early.

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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.

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Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.

Sincerely,

A girl who is sad to go

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What I Wish I Knew About Life After High School Before I Had To Live It

Life after high school isn't always what you expected it to be.

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So you're about to graduate high school and you think you have it all figured out. You and your best friends are going to stay close throughout college and you're going to take those long road trips in college to see each other. Think again.

Life after high school isn't always what you want it to be. You think you'll miss high school, you'll always be close with your high school besties, and you'll have all this free time in college. That's just not entirely true. I personally do not miss high school. I don't really talk to anyone I went to high school with on a regular basis, and I'm totally OK with that. I have friends in college that I believe will be my lifelong friends whereas my friends in high school didn't make an effort to keep in contact with me after high school.

I haven't had all the free time I've dreamed of in college, because I'm busy with school and meetings. When I'm not doing homework, I'm making sure the rest of my life is in order and all my stuff for school is in line. I'm not the crazy party girl that people think I am because of where I go to school. I'd rather sit in bed and watch Netflix than go out with my friends. I'm not a 4.0 student, but I work so hard in my classes just to make sure that I'm passing. I study a week before tests and still don't always make A's. And that's OK. It's not what I expected during my college years, but it's what's happening, and most of my friends are the same way.

Anne Marie Bonadio

Just know that life in college isn't all easy, breezy, and beautiful like Covergirl. It's hard and you will struggle whether it be in school or with your friends. College isn't always complete freedom. You'll be tied down with school and life and you won't have the free time that you always imagined. You won't always be best friends with your high school friends. You won't be taking those road trips because you won't be able to afford them, and if you're like me, your parents won't let you.

College won't be exactly what you dreamed it'll be, but it'll be some of the best years of your life.

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