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They Didn't Teach Me How to Do Laundry in High School
I didn’t wake up in my usual manner that morning. I slowly coasted to consciousness. My eyes reluctantly peeled open, and my ears revealed to me the sweet sound of “Space Oddity” that I had set as my alarm. I had been up practically all night. My eyes were open enough to see my phone and a button that said stop. I turned off the alarm and gave a deep sigh. I slowly sat up and took in my surroundings especially carefully this time. This bed I had woken in so many times was soon to become foreign. The room was bare. All that was left now were the trophies and certificates on the shelf. The house was quiet but had the feeling of one that is busy. I knew I had to hurry up and get ready because it was getting close to time to leave. I went through the same routine I had done for years, except this time I packed my toothbrush after I brushed my teeth. Then I packed my comb after fixing my hair. No longer would I wake up in that bed, shower in that shower, look in that mirror, or walk down those hallways. This was the day I would move to college.
I looked at my dog, Naia, a slightly overweight, almost always asleep American bulldog. It was like she knew I was leaving. Like she knew it would be weeks before I saw her again. Like she knew her tug-of-war war buddy would be missing. And I knew I wouldn’t be waking up to see her lying down in the way of where I needed to go. That I wouldn’t be playing tug-of-war in the afternoon. That I wouldn’t be filling a food bowl with a scoop of dog food at 5 o’ clock each evening. I proceeded to the car. It would be weeks before I entered the iron horse. In a way, the vehicle was a stallion that had carried me to every class of high school and every flight of the summer. This was yet another thing I was leaving behind.
As my journey started on the interstate to ASU, my mind slowly drifted from thoughts of what I was leaving behind to what lay ahead of me. I thought of dorm life during the ride with the occasional question from my parents interrupting my thoughts. For the most part, I thought about what my roommates would be like? What would it be like living away from my parents? What would college classes like? Questions soared through my head like doves on a crisp, cool morning in December. Why were there doves in my brain? I had never felt this way before. Reality as I knew it was fading. I was beginning a new and completely different life.
Walking into the stadium, I felt like a high schooler being recruited for the University. Countless booths each had something for me to take, a pamphlet, sunglasses, a coupon. Reality hit as I got my room and mail key. I am an adult now and I will be living away from home and making my own decisions. Everything happened so fast. After I had unpacked everything in my room, it was time for my parents to leave.
Now alone, waiting for my roommate to come back from hanging out with his friends from high school, I was lost. I began to ponder my memories of high school. The friends I made and the friends I lost. The good and bad times and what I learned. I began to have a deeper resonance with the saying “You never know what you have until it’s gone.” I didn’t realize what I had in high school until this moment. Sitting in a college dorm all by myself. I began to think of all the teachers and parents telling me how fast high school would fly by when I was a freshman. About how I denied this and thought it was a drag. But in reality, one moment I closed my eyes as a freshman getting some sleep before the big exam and woke up as a sleep deprived, overworked senior getting ready to ace an exam I had prepared for weeks in advance. After sleeping on graduation night, I woke up again a freshman.
Well, this is it. I’m a freshman again. Back at the bottom of the food chain. Gone are the days of high school, and gone is the person I was in high school. College is a new time, time for me to be better, for me to work harder, to stop procrastinating and learn more than ever before. I kissed eight hours of sleep goodbye and said so long to being able to work out for two hours a day. I embraced the thought of spending all free hours of my day on studying and homework. Now, I am ready for college.
The first week was all about living on my own. Wake up, get dressed, take care of hygiene, walk down to breakfast, walk back up to room, check schedule for the day and go. Every day. Ok, that is easy enough. Now the first week of classes is about to start so let’s throw some studying and homework in the mix. Chaos everywhere, the halls were filled with horror and the rooms were filled with students in agony. Everything was in shambles, the world was over. In other words, I started to get less sleep and was pretty upset about that.
Second week of class, I’m used to the workload and feeling pretty good about it. Nothing can stop me now. I am getting into the gym daily and finishing all of my course work on time. I start to wonder what I was worrying about during the first week.
Third week of class. I have a paper due this week. Chaos everywhere, the halls were filled with horror and the rooms were filled with students in agony. Everything was in shambles, the world was over. Again, just worked a little harder and had a little less free time and sleep. Everything seems to be going fine and I enjoy most of my classes. Each class was new and exciting except chemistry, for once in my life I was actually excited for an English class though I had a burning hatred for English in high school.
Fourth week of class. I have two tests this week. Chaos everywhere, the halls were filled with horror and the rooms were filled with students in agony. Everything was in shambles, the world was over. Ok that’s enough of that, College isn’t all bad and I had worried too much since move in day. My parents, among others, tell me that the way high school prepared me for college was wrong, that I wasn’t prepared enough. I think I wouldn’t change a thing. Being thrown into a new situation and having to adapt is all part of being an adult. Though high school didn’t teach me how to both go to school and live, or how to do laundry, I look back behind the terror ridden eyes of the me that sat in bed on move in day and feel relieved. College isn’t so bad.