Here’s a blast from the past. I’ve had a lot of time to clear out some old files on my Mac these past few days, and came across a submission I had written in 2001 for the Daily Texan, the student newspaper at the University of Texas at Austin. It’s not particularly well written, but it is a window into my life before travel. Enjoy.
Thoughts of Home: A Natural Freshman Reaction
We all take certain things for granted in life; as children, we knew our parents would always be there when we skinned our knees, when we needed something to eat, whenever we wanted anything. As time passed, we learned to acquire skills that our own parents may have lacked, we ventured farther and farther away from the clutches of a family member’s embrace, and in doing so, we, intentionally or not, started taking our first steps towards independence. However, although some may argue, independence does not begin in high school. Some teenagers may choose to recklessly abandon their parents after junior high, stay out all night with friends, delude themselves into thinking a five second conversation can sustain a family, and forget just where they’ve come from, just what people enabled them to make such choices.
We become fixed in a routine, which is nothing unusual to say the least, but it can be extremely dangerous. We assume that every day we will head out to school in the same way, with a carpool or driving ourselves, we will always be among the company of friends and acquaintances, we will always have somewhere to go, and somewhere to call home.
Having almost every constant in your life suddenly snatched away – such as when one begins college, leaving behind family, friends, and a former life – can be very unnerving, unsettling, and can leave people in tears, knowing that they can never return to the life that they once knew: to a simpler life with parents, friends, rules, and boundaries.
I am a freshman, completely new to the college experience and leaving home for such an extended time, and believe I represent most of the freshmen class when I say I think of home constantly; my mind drifts to the days of my childhood, free from worry, and even to times when I was stressed out over AP exams, for all these memories, however separated by time, took place in a part of my life that I long for, to be back to a simpler life of schoolwork, sports, and parties- not the life decisions we are forced to make here, the decisions that will forever alter our careers, our futures, our well-being.
We all knew that a time like this would come; any preschooler could probably tell you how old a college student is. However, at any age, many just don’t consider exactly when they have to leave for good. We keep our thoughts in the present to ignore a burdensome future, which isn’t unreasonable. Everyone wants to do what they want when they want to, but sometimes life catches up to them. Freshmen have to face the cold hard facts: you’re here, this is your life, you have total control, and if you can’t take this step, how can you ever expect to make it on your own?