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Student Life

Leaving for College

Leaving home for college isn't as easy as you may think.

Rich Coleman

August 23, 2008

Leaving for College

For a while, I thought that leaving for college was no big deal. I would see girls I know get together the night before someone’s departure and they would all ball their eyes out about how they’re going to miss each other. I would always casually snicker at the sight and thought of such an event. It seemed so silly to me. My thought process was that if they’re your real friends, they’ll visit you on winter breaks and that’s not too far down the road.

So, I watched as all my friends left for their respective colleges. I said goodbye, I hugged, I wished luck, and I said goodbye some more. Not once did I cry. I knew I’d see them again, so there was no point in getting overly emotional about it.

I felt like a pretty tough guy, not being affected by all this leaving for college stuff.

Then it hit me once I took down my Ghostbusters poster.

My Ghostbusters poster brought color and life to my room. Once it went down, all that was there was a blank wall with some residue from the tape that resided on the poster.

I stared at the space for a couple seconds. It somehow seemed as if it destroyed my room by taking that poster down. I ignored it. But then once the other posters came down, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’m leaving my home. My home for a good 10 years. I’m going to say goodbye to my parents and live without their help for the next 9 months.

Was this actually happening? I didn’t feel any tears, but I was starting to feel…sad. I was hoping this would pass.

Then I started to pack my clothes and it hit me more. Once I packed all my DVDs, I was almost on the ground.

I was sad!

But little did I know the real change in me would come when I visited my work to say goodbye to all my friends at work.

My friends at work seemed as if they were sad that I was leaving, too. I hate to sound detestably modest, but I wasn’t used to someone being sad that I was leaving. Then one of my friends actually started crying. It wasn’t a full on river of tears but you could tell she was having trouble holding it back.

So what does this subtle form of self-gratification prove? In that moment, when I saw my friend’s eyes water up, I realized why those girls all cry and hug.

This really is a life changing experience. And up until the day you start packing it won’t seem like one. But once the little things in your life disappear - like a poster, your clothes, or even the friends you take for granted – it will hit you like a bag of bricks. That’s how it was for me.

Once I said goodbye to my friends at work, I almost started crying. I was leaving all of this behind. This perfect routine I had lived by for a good 10 years. Off to live with another student and having to fend for myself. I was scared and with every right to be. I couldn’t even sleep the night before my departure.

Needless to say, it was hard to say goodbye. But once I arrived at Penn State and moved in, met my roommate, got some food, and said goodbye to my parents, it was easy to adjust. I still do miss my friends and family and can’t wait to get home and tell them how college has been, but I’m making sure to take every day in and make the most out of my stay here at Penn State.

The point I’m trying to make here is that saying goodbye is never easy, no matter how tough you are. Maybe seeing some girls in a group crying about leaving may make you chuckle now, but eventually there will be something to trigger your anxiety about leaving. Should you be afraid? No. Will you be afraid? Yes.

But don’t quell that fear, embrace it. Because once you get to college, you’ll realize it’s going to be one of the best experiences of your life and you’ll feel silly for even being nervous in the first place. I’ve only been here a week and I already realized it. Good luck and keep lots of tissues with you! Especially if you’re a girl.

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