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Four Years at the Mount

Sophomore year

The promise of spring

Leeanne Leary
Class of 2017

(3/2015) I open my eyes, take a deep breath, and literally breathe it all in. The automatic doors shut behind me and I feel the weight of my suitcase hanging from my left arm.

I look around me and everyone is movingóhurrying toward the busses, waiting to bring people to the parking lot, running into the arms of anxiously waiting family members, or walking with friends, ready to accept reality again after tropical vacations. All of this is happening in a whirlwind around me as I stand outside baggage claim 11 at Baltimore-Washington International Airportóoverwhelmed, anxious, and excited for the next three months of adventure.

Now, you may ask, who goes to Maryland for an adventure? Well the truth is Iím not really here for an adventure; Iím here to study for a semester away from home. I have spent the last 20 years in Flagstaff, Arizona and my mom finally told me around Thanksgiving that I donít need to stay at home to take care of the dogs anymore. That sounds ridiculous. It was a real problem. I live at home with my single mom and six high maintenance Chihuahua puppies. I love them, but my social life and calendar has always suffered at the paws of these dogs. I guess I whined enough and my mom hired a 15-year-old boy to come take care of them for a few months before and after school. As it turns out, Iím a little protective over my dogs and Iím not sure how this makes me feel.

Okay, I could go on for hours about life at home. Thatís not the point.

The point is, Iím standing outside of baggage claim 11, ready to take on Maryland with absolutely no idea what lies ahead. Iím concerned about strange things. I donít think Flagstaff has adequately prepared me for the light rail system of Baltimore or the obnoxious amount of seafood that they eat on the Eastern Shore. Luckily, Iíll be spending most of my time in a town calledÖwell, I canít remember the name right now. Iím a little nervous, but I donít think it will be too bad. My biggest concern is the weather.

I donít know how to dress for this place.

I didnít know what to pack, or what to buy.

I looked at the weather app on my iPhone every day for the past few months and there seems to be no pattern at all.

I look on Facebook at what my Internet friends are wearing and I see hats and scarves one day and windows down on the Jeep the next day.

So instead of trying to figure it out, or over pack, I got overly stressed and just barely packed anything. I guess weíll take it day by day as the weather seems to do. Supposedly this place is so great because there are four distinct seasons, and Iím excited to experience this as long as it happens slowly and I have enough time to get to a Wal-Mart in between seasons.

Iím getting distracted again; letís get back to standing outside of baggage claim 11.

Iím standing still, a little cold, looking around for my ride, when suddenly it hits me. Iím cold and everyone around me is wearing short sleeves. Iím anxious for a new beginning and most people around me are returning to their comfortable Maryland home. Iím taking my first independent steps as spring begins. Itís not just a fresh start for me; itís a new beginning for everyone.

Thatís whatís so great about this season of spring, at least from what I can tell so far! Everything is beginning again, everything from the grass to the graduating class gets a new start. The flowers bloom as people come out of the cold months and use the Easter season to better their own lives. Itís a time of renewal, allergies, spring break, Lenten promises, spring cleaning, and spiritual, physical, and emotional cleansing. Too often itís a time spent in a constant state of anxiousness for the coming summer months when we should be marveling in the wonder that is the first fresh cut lawn smell or the rejuvenated vibe present all around.

So yes, Iím nervous. Iím nervous for a new beginning in a strange place with strange people. Well, hopefully the people wonít be too strange. Iím nervous but I know that just as the season begins with a fresh air about it, so too will my experience. If only I had the constant knowledge of an impending spring season to serve as a reminder of new beginning characterized by color, beauty, and innocence.

I may not have all the clothes I need; I may end up severely underdressed some days or homesick for my mom and dogs. I might get lost on all this public transportation or cry until I make a friend. Regardless, I will remember this moment, the moment I realized taking on a new experience is no different than preparing ever February for the next season. So now here I stand with a new mindset, outside of baggage claim 11, prepared to face this exhilarating and nerve-wracking experience with an unparalleled gratitude for the simple promise of spring.

Read other articles by Leeanne Leary