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Four Years at the Mount

Freshman year

Are You Ready?

Samantha Strub
English Major - Class of 2013

(June, 2010) A year has passed, and now we stand on the brink of returning to a world where we are surrounded by the paradox of everything yet nothing being the same. In a few days we will reluctantly give our hugs and, fighting the tears, say goodbye to people who were once just names on a sheet of paper to return to those that we hugged and fought tears to say goodbye to before we ever left. We will leave our best friends to return to our best friends and family. We will go back to our hometowns and back to traditional summer activities like working those minimum-wage jobs. We leave the Mount to go down that familiar road toward home and, even though it has been months, it will seem like only yesterday.

As you walk into your old bedroom, every emotion will pass through as you reflect on how your way of life has changed and how you have become a different person. You suddenly realize that the things that were most important to you a year ago don't seem to matter so much anymore. The things you hold highest now no one at home will completely understand. Who will you call first? Where are you going to work? Who will be at the party Saturday night? What has everyone been up to? Who from school will you keep in touch with? How long before you actually start missing people barging in without calling or knocking? Who will go on IHOP and Taco Bell runs at three in the morning? How long until you adjust to sleeping in a room by yourself or realize your three best friends aren't sleeping in the room next door?

As these thoughts run through your mind, you realize how much things have changed. You understand that the hardest part of college is balancing the two completely different worlds you now live in, trying desperately to hold onto the new world of college while figuring out what you have left behind. In one or two days’ traveling time, we will leave a world where our best friends live next door, the noise is constant, and we walk across campus to eat--where we instant message, barely wake up for early morning classes, and procrastinate perpetually. Our old world seems foreign to us, despite the fact that we have lived in it for eighteen years. You never would have thought that, being away for only a year, it would be so hard to adjust. It’s not so much that a year has passed but that our daily schedule is so different. Most of us will not be able to have the carefree summer that we had following our senior year of high school. We will have to take a job that pays minimum wage and has horrible hours. Being responsible took on a new meaning once we packed our bags and drove out.

But it is different now...We now know the meaning of true friendship. We know whom we have kept in touch with over the past year and whom we hold dearest. We've left our high-school worlds to deal with the real world. We’ve fallen in love and had our hearts broken; we've helped our best friends through the toughest times of their lives, sometimes even with things that their best friends at home couldn't be there for. We've stayed up all night just to be there for a friend. Yes, we’ve even pulled those all nighters studying because of the infamous procrastination. We've partied the night away and sometimes acted stupidly, but we always supported each other afterwards.

There have been times when we've felt so helpless being hours away from home when we know our families or friends needed us most, and there have been times when we know we have made a difference in the lives of our friends. We realize that college friends become a part of our families. This happens because you are around them constantly; you eat together, study together, and watch movies through the night. You laugh, you cry, you fight; you do absolutely nothing together until you cannot seem to remember how you ever lived without them. They become an important part of your life. There are times, however, when you think your best friends back home are the only ones who will understand, but then you look around at those who were once just names on a piece of paper and realize you can count on them for anything. These people have become your best friends, way more than just people you will graduate with, but friends who will eventually be at your wedding. It has been a long road, and you had to discoverer the meaning of true friendship by being betrayed, but that is what life is all about, taking the mistakes you have made and turning them into lessons learned.

A few days from now we will leave this new world. We will take down our pictures, pack up our clothes and everything else in our dorm rooms. No more going down the hall for a quick hello that turns into an hour-long conversation or doing nothing for hours on end. We will leave our college friends whose random emails, text messages, and phone calls will bring us to laughter and tears this summer. We will take our memories and dreams and put them away for now, saving them for our return to this world.

A few days from now we will arrive back to the familiar. We will unpack our bags and have dinner with our families. We will drive over to our best friend's house and sit around for hours. We will return to the same friends whose random emails, text messages, and phone calls have brought us laughter and tears over the past year. We will put our dreams on hold for the summer but never forget about dreaming big.

A few days from now we will dig deep inside to find the strength and conviction to adjust to change and still keep each other close. And somehow, we will find our places between these two worlds.... are you ready?

Read past editions of Samantha Strub's Four Years at the Mount