It seems like only yesterday that I was eagerly unpacking all my clothes and putting up my posters to match my plans for my first college dorm room.
And yet, it’s time to leave.
The posters have been rearranged, and I’ve accumulated more clothes than I know what to do with. I can’t pinpoint all of the changes I experienced over the year that led me to where I am now, but my dorm room has seen me through it all. Particularly, my freshman year desk reflects the person I was when I first stepped into room 431, and the person I morphed into as I packed up its contents.
The pictures of my best friends from home are taped all over the shelves. From the girl I’ve known since the first grade to my long-distance boyfriend; people I never imagined I could be away from for more than a week.
I remember crying so hard because I was the first one to leave home for college.
Vows were made to call you all nearly every week (I’m sorry I didn’t keep that promise).
Every single book came to school that I didn’t have the chance to read before going to college. I was determined to finish them all before I left. At the beginning of the year, I read every night before bed. Let’s just say I am packing twelve unread books, and I’m pretty disappointed about that. Pre-college me was so naive.
And there’s the record player my mom spent way too much on for me for my seventeenth birthday. I never had much of a chance to blast my antique Beatles records like I always dreamed of in my first dorm room. I mean my roommate got annoyed if I even took a call. My random roommate wasn’t the greatest part of the year, but all of our mini disagreements that culminated into our complete disregard of each other was something I had to deal with every time I went to bed.
My very first—overly expensive—Macbook, remains as one of the things that literally got me through the year.
I opened my laptop every day of the semester, whether it was for homework or to catch up on my Netflix watchlist. Stickers have been added, removed and rearranged as my moods have changed. The keyboard may or may not have seen some creamery ice cream and tears (I’m sorry).
I’ve accumulated so many different newspapers throughout my freshman year. Sifting through everything I collected, I remember all of the mental breakdowns and accomplishments I went through during my first year as a journalism major. For the time I cried in the department head’s office because I thought I was a failure in the fall. Even when I had my byline printed in the university’s paper for the first time in the spring.
I remember crying before I left for college worrying that my peak had happened in high school.
As a perfectionist and workaholic, it was terrifying to think that there were going to be so many others at my university who worked just as hard as me. I didn’t want to fall behind. Yet, all of the awards I earned throughout the year proved me wrong. Freshman-year-me worked her ass off throughout all of the essays, exams and online homework assignments. But it also makes me remember all of the hours I spent on the practice field with the Blue Band— making new friends and incredible memories.
Finally, my boyfriend’s letters. He may have been ten hours away, but he was always my number one supporter. Through every achievement and every mental breakdown, he was just one phone call away. Every single time I needed him, he was always there— even when he was going through his own first year at school.
Being so far apart was hard for us both (and there were lots of packages filled with chocolate). But we did it and it proved the strength of our relationship.
P.S. he’s the biggest Penn State fan I’ve ever met.