Please Don’t Leave

After graduating high school, I couldn’t wait to leave for college. My summer was going to consist of working as much as possible to pay for said college so I was anxious for it to be over so I could go. The girl I was supposed to room with my freshman year decided to go somewhere else so there was no roommate to call and coordinate room items with. It was just little old me getting ready to go.

My Mom had just graduated college as a non-traditional student; my Dad didn’t go to college. None of my cousins had gone to college yet. I was the first one in my inner circle to leave home, go to college and live there. It was a little daunting but I was so excited.

The day finally came. We loaded up the car and the trailer behind the car with all of my stuff. Or as my Dad so eloquently put it “10 lbs. of shit that needs to fit in a 5 lb. bag”. All I felt was excitement driving down 75 South towards Bowling Green. Until I saw the sign. There’s a huge sign that reads “Bowling Green State University 10 miles”. I saw that sign and my stomach dropped. I thought I was going to lose it. Only 10 miles until I was on my own. In college. By myself. Oh shit.

Before I knew it those 10 miles were over and we were there. My Mom, stepdad and Dad helped me unload all of my stuff and carry it up three flights of stairs to my dinky, dingy, hideous college dorm room. I was there a week earlier than most students because I was rushing a sorority. There were still quite a few people, but nothing compared to what it would be like in a week when everyone came. We piled my comforter, my books, my clothes, my mini fridge and my hot plate wherever we could find a spot.

And then they gave me a hug and left.

I found out later that my Mom needed to leave quickly or else she was going to lose it. And my Mom definitely does not like to cry ro show that kind of emotion in front of anyone. So they left. Really fast.

I was alone. Truly alone for the first time.

Growing up, my sister and I were alone a lot. My parents were divorced and my Mom worked full-time so we were latch-key kids. I was a ridiculously mature and responsible kid so my Mom felt safe leaving me home in charge of my sister. But I almost always had my sister with me. Someone to, at the very least, share the space with and feel connected to.

Now at college? I was all alone. I only knew a few people and they were not in my dorm. I was terrified. I wanted my Mommy. I wanted her to come back and take me home and go to community college so I wouldn’t have to be by myself. But I powered through and started putting my stuff away. Tried to make my dorm not look so hideous.

Before I knew it, I made a few friends. I settled in. It was great. I didn’t feel alone so much. I started to enjoy my new freedom. But I’ve never forgotten that feeling of being truly on my own for the first time.

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8 responses to “Please Don’t Leave

  1. My stepson is rounding the corner to start looking at colleges and although it scares me to no end – this kid? He is so freakin excited. It’s weird because I think we want the college experience for our kids but we don’t, all at the same time.

  2. I cried the first night I was at college. I was in Athens at Ohio University, 3 hours from home. I didn’t know anyone in my dorm and my roommate was MIA until day 2. I had to stay in a new place all by myself, it was a horrible first night, but a wonderful 4 years. Just yesterday I was wishing I was back in college.

  3. Oh! I can completely remember this feeling after reading your post! Standing there and not believing that they really just left me here. By MYSELF. Great job capturing that.

  4. I remember the lunch I ate with my parents (soup and sandwiches!) before my dad took me to college four hours away. Mom was going to stay behind with my two younger sisters. We both cried in our bowls the whole time. I felt like I was eating my last meal before the executioner. I can still feel what it was like, choking down that food. BTW, I absolutely adored college and was adjusted in about a week. 🙂 It was a huge step, though.

  5. It is such a great scary feeling. So empowering!

  6. I was so scared, sad and every emotion in between on my first day of college! My roomies mom said the two of you are going to be great friends – and I was like yeah right….but a zillion years later and we are just that! So fun to think back!

  7. I packed up my little red hatchback and drove myself 10 hours away from home to go to college. My first alone road trip. My first time to a city I’d never visited all by myself. I was scared shitless. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. Perhaps I’m still scarred and that’s why I’m so freaked about Kindergarten!

  8. I remember that day, too. It is so ingrained in my memory that I feel like it was just yesterday. I can’t even imagine when this day comes for my girls. I’ll be a mess.

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