On My Own Away From Home

June 5, 2013
I picked up a pair of shorts and a shirt and carefully placed them in my suitcase. I did this continuously for about a half an hour. My mom came in my room with a look of puzzlement on her face.

“Why did you pack so many clothes!” my Mom exclaimed. I looked down at my giant pile.

“Sorry, I lost track of how many I packed,” I lied. The truth was I was procrastinating. I was hiding the fact that I was nervous about going to camp. It would be one week away from home. I had never been away from my parents for that long of a time. I honestly didn’t know if I could function away from my home and family. Reluctantly I took out the extra clothes and finished packing my camp gear. Then I waited til it was time to leave. I looked around my room one last time and felt many mixed emotions. I was nervous and afraid but still excited. I was shaking while loading my clothes into the car. The time came and we took off for Pennsylvania. Sitting in the backseat of my parents ' silver Honda I looked at the scenery and thought about many things. I kept thinking and praying that I wouldn’t have a meltdown in the middle of the week. It would be mortifying to cry in front of all the other campers. What would the camp be like? Would they like me? Would I like them?

We arrived at camp and I remember thinking it wasn't all that far from home. In big green letters it said ISTC (International Sports Training Camp). As we drove through the parking lot I kept on telling myself that I could do it. I would be ok and stay strong, but the fear of the unknown kept sneaking into my thoughts. What if this happens? What If that happens? It kept poking at the back of my mind. Then we got out of the car and checked in. “Here goes nothing,” I thought to myself. I remember was being greeted by smiles. All the staff wore ear to ear smiles. This put me a little bit at ease but I wasn't ready to relax just yet. I still had that fear in my mind. I told them my name and in return they told me my cabin number. It was Cabin 8, my least favorite number. Even though I knew this wasn’t something to worry about , I thought it may be a sign. Then I walked to my cabin and saw all the other kids.

Right then and there, I knew I was ok and would make it. All the other kids looked like they felt the same way I did. They looked a little pale and uneasy. I thought that if all these other kids felt like I did, we were all in this together. I realized that I could survive without my parents. Even though I depended on them for a lot, they didn’t need to be standing by my side 24/7. Right at that moment I didn’t feel like a kid any more. I didn’t think of myself as only a part of my mother and father.. I felt like an independent person who could make his own way in the world. And I had an amazing week at camp, too.

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