cynthia-85*BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEEEEP* went my cell phone’s crappy alarm. It was 6:32am on August 13, 2011. I could see it was still early because I did not hear the familiar Chicago traffic outside my window. As I wiped the boogers from my bloodshot eyes, I knew today was the day! Today I would move to Illinois Wesleyan University. Today I would become an adult.

Of course, my entire body was tired since I decided to pack my bags only 5 hours before. Even so, I mustered up enough courage to wake my mom up. Unfortunately, my courage lasted all of 2 seconds. My heart started running a marathon in my chest; I was about to leave my family!! I, – By myself, – alone, – into a school where I thought everyone knew more than I did.

My heart was still running that marathon as I walked out the door, got into the car, drove down the highway, and saw the “Welcome to Bloomington” sign. Not only was I a ball of fear, but I was also an emotional disaster. I’ve never been away from home for more than a few days, and now I was leaving everything behind. As my family was walking out the door I could not help but think that everything I left in Chicago was gone forever, – my family, friends, every routine I had established over the years; I was losing who I was.

So I thought.

It’s now September 12, 2011. Tomorrow will mark the four-week anniversary being at Illinois Wesleyan University. Unfortunately, waking up in my dorm has not become the “norm” yet, but I’m working on it. As of September 12, 2011, I have befriended a remarkable girl named Amy (who is also my roommate), got A’s on two papers, met some fantastic people from all walks of life, and joined a religious group called Intervarsity. Even so, I’ve also been confused on an assignment, been tight on cash, eaten Ramen Noodle soup for a week straight, cried several times because I missed my mom, slept through my alarm, doubted my abilities, and am currently trying to figure out this calculus homework.

It’s okay, however.

I thought being away at college would diminish every relationship I left back in Chicago, but every one of my relationships has become stronger. I call my mom every day, text my friends a few times a week, and Skype everyone I can fit in a 24 hour period. The academics here at IWU are rigorous, but I know I can succeed. Not only can I do it, but so can you! I know senior year is difficult; you might be deciding if college is the right path for you. If I could offer you some advice, don’t let the fear of leaving your past life behind keep you back from applying to college. Sure, you’ll cry when your mom leaves, have to budget your money, work harder than you did in high school, but you can do it. A friend once told me, “Cynthia you’ll continue to face every challenge in your life while retaining what makes you an amazing person.” I believe the same goes for you!

Thoreau once said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!” So, GO! Go towards your dreams; you can do it!