Embracing Life

IMG_5442by Kendell Carlson
Nothing can truly prepare you for college. Yes, you can talk to your college friends for helpful hints on what to do (or what not to do); you can even host a sleepover with a complete stranger to try and get used to the idea of sharing your personal space with someone you don’t know and trusting them not to steal your kidneys in the dead of the night. But nothing can really prepare you for actually being in college, away from your family, and trusting that roommate not to sell your organs on the black market (as you can see, this was a real concern of mine).
I will readily admit that I was not prepared. In the days leading up to leaving my hometown, I had somehow convinced myself that I would be absolutely fine. No homesickness. No calling Mom and Dad every night like clockwork and sobbing when I hear my dogs barking in the background. No teary eyes when I hear my little brother’s voice saying “hey” very briefly before continuing playing on the Xbox. And, the miracle of all miracles, I had somehow convinced myself that I would be completely, totally, utterly fine without seeing my twin sister every day.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret my decision to attend A&M for a second. Being accepted to Texas A&M is something I’m incredibly proud of. When I applied, I knew I looked pretty good on paper. The real question was whether or not this Connecticut Yankee would be welcome and find her home in Texas. I knew, without a doubt, I was ready to start my life. And when that acceptance letter came, I knew I was ready to start it here in Aggieland.
I was fine for about a month. But then, out of nowhere, the real differences between my small town in Connecticut and this massive campus in the heart of Texas became apparent. A little fun fact to help truly comprehend the size difference; A&M has claim to a little stadium known as Kyle Field, home of Fighting Texas Aggie Football. This means Kyle is the largest football stadium in the SEC and the fourth largest in the nation. 
The entire population of my hometown can fit in Kyle Field 4 times over, with Kyle’s capacity of 102,512. With room to spare.
So, understandably, it has been, still is, and will continue to be an adjustment for me. Everything is different here. The trees don’t change color in fall. The temperatures don’t drop to the mid-30s as soon as the word “Halloween” is mentioned. Gray sweatpant season isn’t a season; it’s two weeks in the middle of February. There is no snow. But, apparently, if there’s a threat of snow, the entire city shuts down (insert New Englander laugh here). 
The largest difference is not being with my family. After 18 years you’d think I’d be sick of seeing them everyday, but only the opposite has proven true. My family is part of my identity. No, really, when my friend asked me to talk about myself, starting with the beginning, I went all the way back to how my grandpa met my grandma. I am incapable of talking about myself without talking about them; they are a part of me. Which is why I am counting down the days until I get to see them again (it’s 35). 
But I know that as soon as I see them, I’m going to start counting down the days until I return to Aggieland. Despite the differences between my old home and Texas, Aggieland is my new home. No, there is no snow, but there is rain. The trees may not change color, but they stay green year round. They have life year round. The temperatures may not drop to freezing levels (even at the mention of Thanksgiving), but they get low enough so that I can wear sweaters and boots. There may not be a gray sweatpant season, but boys dress for success in college, and I must admit I like that better.
I have created a life here, one that is completely different in most aspects to the one I had back home, but I wouldn’t change any part of it.
You can never really prepare for life. Not in the way you think you can, at least; life is unexpected. Change happens. Coming to Texas was amazing. It was the right choice for me. Life comes at you, fast, hard, and unexpected, leaving you with two choices; embrace the change, or fight it. Take it as it comes, or stay stuck in the same place. Grow, adapt, learn, or never know what’s waiting for you in the future. Personally, I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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