It’s crazy how quickly 5 years can go by. A lot has happened in the last 5 years since I moved but I remember that day like it was yesterday. Here is my 5 year recap since I moved.
I woke up bright and early on August 21st, 2010 and loaded my car and my dad’s Mustang. I started the trip up to Jacksonville early in the morning to avoid the move-in rush. It was about a 2 hour drive to get there and I was impatient. As I crossed the main bridge to get to the mainland of my hometown, I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw the Vehicle Assembly Building out at Kennedy Space Center. I was going to miss this place…just not yet. We got to the dorms at the University of North Florida shortly after 11am and it was blazing hot. Outside in mid August was like living in an oven-truly brutal! We moved my stuff in quickly then headed to Target to grocery shop and buy things I needed. (My famous Pasta pot was purchased that day. I would make everything in that pot while I was mastering the art of cooking. I recently gave it to Goodwill.) My parents took me out to eat then dropped me off back at the dorms and said their goodbyes. My parents aren’t good with emotion so there were no tears. To be honest I felt pretty good about the whole thing. I thought I would be upset-that would come a month after moving. I thought I would miss them-I did but I was home every weekend it seemed! At 21, I was ready to be on my own and start figuring out myself and what I wanted out of my life.
I woke up the next day feeling awesome! I was on campus early to buy my books which cost WAY too much money and when the cashier told me my financial aid wasn’t enough to pay for books I called my parents in tears. Yep. My first day on my own and I was already crying. They say going away to college is a coming of age experience. I thought I was pretty prepared. (I was way more prepared than I would’ve been if I moved out at 18.) But it was still an adjustment. My first few weeks went well. I enjoyed my classes, I made a few friends and hung out with people I knew from back home who went to UNF but I couldn’t seem to get a job transfer. I worked for Publix and I had heard that it was fairly easy to transfer stores. But every store within the radius of campus didn’t seem to need any people. I even had to drive 2 hours back home to work one day at my old store just to stay on the payroll. Without working for a month, I was pretty poor. I had very little money-a result of poor spending habits before moving-and couldn’t bring myself to ask my parents for money-which I ended up having to do any ways. Needless to say my first month of being on my own SUCKED.
I spent a lot of nights not sleeping. I would worry about money and whether or not I was cut out to be away from my parents and friends. I called my parents in the middle of the night many times to vent and worry in which my father’s reply was always, “You are worrying for nothing. This is life and life is not always easy.” All of this mixed in with what I could call minor depression from other things that had happened before I moved led to me having a breakdown. My amazing room-mate, Ellen, saw that I was upset one afternoon and vowed to get me out of our dorm. We headed out to Jacksonville Beach and took a walk. It was nice to get out and see a new part of the city I was now living in. Plus Ellen and I had some laughs which helped. The next day I decided to go see a therapist on campus and start ironing out my issues/concerns in order to feel better. After 3 visits, I felt that I could handle this on my own.
From that point on, I was having the time of my life in my new city! I finally got a job transfer with enough pestering of a store manager who was kind enough to take me on. I was loving my classes and field of study. I went out and explored the area when I had free time. Things were looking up. The progression from my first month here to my 1 year anniversary of my move proved that I had made a great choice. Nothing is easy in life and if it were everyone would do it. But my path led me to a great city full of opportunity, friends and even the love of my life. (Who happened to be from the same county that I was from!) Taking chances is all a part of the journey in life. I am so glad to have taken the chance of moving away for college and finding my own success!