Flying away

Senior reflects on moving away for college


In a handful of days, I’ll join the other 853 seniors and graduate from high school. Some of these people I’ll know, most I will assume snuck in, because despite going to the same school, I’ve never seen them. After I graduate, I’ll take some pictures with my family. And then I’ll probably go home to watch Netflix and wake up not feeling any different.

But in that simple walk across the stage, my wings will begin to flutter. Because that walk is just the beginning. After that, it’s a somersault of shopping, packing and emotional goodbyes. Going to college is no doubt one of the scariest obstacles I have yet to face.

College has always been on my radar. When I was a toddler, I was dressed in a University of Texas onesie, with the inscription, “I’m a Little Longhorn.” This wasn’t a surprise as my parents both bleed orange blood. I attended my first college football game when I was six years old – the same  time when I was learning to tie my own shoes. As I got older, I began to realize that UT wasn’t the only college, much to my parent’s dismay.

Of course, my parents were also surprised when my sister threw away her acceptance letter into UT and instead chose Baylor University. Though grateful that my best friend who happened to share my DNA would be just two hours away, instead of four, I couldn’t wrap my head around the choice. Waco v. Austin. Town v. City. Unknown v. Known.

Four years later, I am also choosing Baylor University. The closest to home out of my self-designated options (of which, sorry to say, University of Texas didn’t come close), Baylor is still a leap — 125 miles away from everything I’ve ever known including my family, friends and church. Unfortunately, even my sister won’t be in my new sphere as she is moving back to Dallas after her graduation in May.

Despite everything that people have told me about this transition time, nothing seems to ease my scrambled, stressed mind. Yes, I know that I won’t be the only one starting fresh. Yes, I know that I’ll make friends with people in my dorm and classes. Yes, I know that AP classes have prepared me for the rigor. I know all of that. But none of those things change the feeling inside of me that I’m leaving my safety zone and crossing into unknown territory.

So as I walk across the stage on June 6, I’ll smile. And as I move the tassel from one side to another, I’ll probably throw in a ‘Sic ‘Em Bears.’ And then I’ll probably shed a tiny tear as I get into my car to leave.