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.