Recalling my first day of kindergarten comes easily to me. I wore a purple dress with flowers and a pair of pristine white sandals. My backpack, which was almost as big as me, was bright pink with tiny light pink and purple flowers decorating the straps. My lunchbox was decked out with everything Cinderella, from a picture of her in her huge blue ball gown to cut outs of her glass slipper and animal friends. Around my neck hung a piece of yarn with a laminated bus dangling from it, serving as a form of identification detailing my name, teacher’s name, grade, bus number, bus stop, and classroom number. As the bright yellow school bus approached the bus stop at the corner of my street, I hugged my mom and brother goodbye, climbed onto the bus, and sat in the first seat as any novice student would do.
Looking back at how vividly I remember that day—everything from where my cubby was to where I slept at nap time—it is crazy, astonishing, shocking, dumbfounding, bewildering (insert more synonyms) that I am completing my freshman year of college. I remember telling my family members before attending kindergarten that I would never go to college because I did not want to leave my family, cat, or home. Well, it turns out that at the ripe age of five, I was not the best psychic. Even while entering high school, college seemed so far away. I still had to go through four more years of quizzes, tests, essays, readings, notes, presentations, labs, and lectures. When looking at my calendars and agenda books, I still had so much time left. Each day quickly became a week, each week became a month, and each month became the end of that school year. At the time, there seemed to be so many remaining levels and admittedly, that provided me with great comfort. I was not ready to leave the only place that I had called home. My hometown is relatively small; we have one elementary school, middle school, and high school. To leave the comfort of home and go somewhere new, larger, and far away was exciting yet also terrifying. The thought of using a communal bathroom sent chills down my spine. And what would I do without my mom’s home-cooking? How would I survive in a twin size bed that needed a mattress pad, having been accustomed to a plush mattress for basically my entire life? Where would I shove all of my clothes? How would I learn to work the washer and dryer? Did I even know how to take money out of the ATM? Luckily, I always thought, I still had time. College was far down the road, and I couldn’t even drive on the highway, so there were plenty of speedbumps to get through first!
In high school, though, the time flew. Marked by tennis matches, Halloweens, football games, Mini-THONs, frosh hops, band concerts, club meetings, and proms, every day seemed to go by quickly as I approached the encompassment of those thirteen years of schooling: graduation. I knew that I was nearing the end when people began wearing their college apparel to school, the teachers started collecting textbooks, and our class officers requested photos for the senior slideshow. I finally came to grips with my upcoming graduation when my band teacher handed out “Pomp and Circumstance” for the band to start practicing. As I began planning my month of June and saw “Commencement Rehearsal” on the calendar, a tingling sensation shot through my stomach. It was as if I had walked into the corner of my kitchen counter and needed to instantly fall to the ground until I regained feeling.
I had toured the University of Delaware three times before applying and one time after applying. Admittedly, I am indecisive and I dragged out my college selection much longer than necessary. Even though my family, friends, and I knew that I would most likely choose Delaware, I could not bring myself to formally make the commitment. Choosing a college had always seemed so far away. Going on numerous tours, sporting various colleges’ apparel, and keeping a folder of every pamphlet, paper, and brochure given to me was my way of delaying the future. My mom always told me to live in the present instead of hoping for something in the future. She still nags me not to wish time away. From her, I learned to enjoy the daily progression of life, because soon enough, those days would be little boxes crossed off my calendar. I suspect this is why it took me so long to formally commit to the University of Delaware. Upon seeing the green grass, cherry blossom trees, and brick buildings with ornate white columns, I knew that Delaware was the university for me. I was not ready, however, to accept that my time had come to check the final box on my calendar that contained my elementary, middle, and high school experiences—which had directed my life for so long. I continued to refrain formalizing my college decision. That was, until my eighteenth birthday, when upon returning home from my friend’s house, my parents had decorated a room in our home with two University of Delaware shirts and the “UD 2020” banner which I had received in the mail. I looked at my parents and, puzzled, asked, “So what would you have done with the shirts if I hadn’t chosen Delaware?”
If it means anything, I have the two shirts hanging nicely in my wardrobe here at Louis Redding Hall. Soon, I will take those shirts off of their respective hangers and stuff them into space bags upon returning home for the summer. I never would have imagined that I am already a quarter of the way through with my college career. My collection of University of Delaware apparel has more than doubled. I have successfully learned the names and ingredients of most of the UDairy Creamery flavors. Slowly but surely, the UD Bucket List has started to decrease in size in anticipation of graduation—but, just like high school, I want to believe that I have a good amount of time until that day. I never would have imagined that I would find some of my best friends in some of the most unique ways—shout out to the friends that I have made in line, in the laundry room, and in the hallway. I never expected to have some of the most amazing experiences that I have had, which are stories that I will tell for years to come. Even though it sounds extremely cliché, it is amazing to think that in just one year, I have flourished exponentially.
On the day of my high school graduation, I felt that it was fitting to watch two episodes of my all-time favorite show, One Tree Hill. The episodes were “The Birth and Death of the Day” which chronicles their high school graduation from Tree Hill High School and “One Tree Hill” which concludes the series. Although my dad constantly makes fun of my obsession with this quote, I think that it is safe to end my last blog post of freshman year with it since I believe that it perfectly sums up this nostalgia: “One day, you’re 17 and you’re planning for someday. And then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.”
So, as some of us end our first chapter at the University of Delaware while others close the book to start a new one, try to remember that wanting to get to the next paragraph, page, or chapter should not overpower the current letter, word, or line being read. Congratulations on another year in the books. Here’s to a library full of adventures yet to come!