A few weeks before I started my freshmen year in college, my mom went to OpryMils Mall in Nashville and phoned home to say she was bringing me home a BIG surprise. Oprymils is a little slice of heaven for this small town Southern girl, whose town doesn't even have as much as a movie theater. I mean this mall has The Rain forest cafe, oodles of clothing stores, and don't forget the Hello Kitty store. Who can resist that cute little, um kitty?
So of course my mind raced with delicious possibilities: new clothes, new cds, or maybe just a good meal. But when my mom came home I was a little bewildered by the amount of excitement she was able to muster for a combined college dictionary & thesaurus. But even I have to admit that book was well-used throughout my college career.
Mississippi University for Women is the only college I applied to. I discovered MUW when I was leisurely skimming through a college catalog. It immediately peaked my interest because I thought it was an ALL WOMEN SCHOOL. I had just broken up with my boyfriend of four years. A boy I can honestly say I truly loved, although it was nothing like I'm experiencing now. A boy who was there with me through the hard times, the anxiety & depression. A boy who honestly saved my life. But when I got better, we no longer fit in each other's life. Our relationship changed because I had changed. Our love gradually started to slip away, until we were only together because we didn't know how to be apart. But finally one morning I got the courage to say, "This just isn't working anymore." And he agreed, I think part of me wanted him to fight for us. But he didn't, and I cried for months. I was positive I never wanted to date ever again. Yes, I know that was dramatic, but I was 17 and when you are 17 everything seems like the end of the world.
I had no preconceived notions or expectations about college. College was just something I always knew I was supposed to do after high school. I was more nervous than excited. And I worried about having to live with a roommate. My brother had moved out when I was five, so I had always lived like an only child. Plus, I am a bit of an control freak (a bit is the understatement of the century).
I could write a book about my college roommates. There was one girl who believed her boyfriend was cheating. So she set up an interrogation chair in the middle of the room, and a hidden video camera to try and catch him lying (I swear it was just like Jerry Springer). Then there was the girl who had lots of threesomes, kept illegal alcohol & drugs in the room, and liked locking me out at inopportune times.
But somewhere between the crazy roommates, all nighters, skipping classes, late night donut runs, and meeting the most amazing girls I've ever known, I figured out who I am. So what if I'm neurotic, a control freak, occasionally anti-social, and emotional. I'm also warm-hearted, steadfast, giving, a good listener, and sincere. I learned its OK to want to make others happy, as long as you don't forget that your happiness matters too. And that admitting you are feeling scared, lost, or unsure doesn't make you weak. And most importantly that there are really petty people in this world, but amazing people outnumber them by far.
When I graduated last May, I was so burnt out that I thought I would never want to step foot on campus ever again. But with my friends starting their fall semesters today, I have to admit there is a small part of me that is jealous. A new semester always meant a fresh start, buying new school supplies and making the soon to be broken resolutions to be more organized, attend all classes, and cut back on the partying. There are so many wonderful times ahead of me, I know that. But sometimes it’s tempting to live in the past, rather than finding the courage to step into the future.