Today I went to my computer and logged on to Facebook. I did my normal routine: checked my newsfeed, checked notifications, and went to my timeline. However, as I checked my timeline I noticed something underneath my profile picture: beneath my birthday and hometown, there was a new icon that said “add your college”.
My college? Are you serious?
I stared at that little blue link for a few minutes. By some magical power, Facebook knew I am a senior. It knew that this fateful decision to choose my new home for the next four years was coming upon me. Facebook, are you forcing a decision on me so soon? Not you, too. I needed you to be there for me, to tell me it was okay to go to high school forever, that decisions so big can wait until I’m a big girl.
It seemed, as I stared at that icon, that I shrank and shrank until I was a five year old again, little and afraid.
College. Something I had dreamed about and fantasized of since I was eight years old and we went to the symphony at Wheaton College, and I decided that was where I would go and major in English, and become a writer.
I remember when Doug was looking at colleges, and him and Mom went through catalogues and magazines and visited campus after campus. Doug went through the whole process with a half-dazed look on his face, like he wasn’t entirely sure what was going on and if the school had cool colors and wasn’t too far from home and his social life, then it was alright with him. He distracted himself from it and lived in denial and avoided talking about it as much as possible.
I, on the other hand, scoured those magazines after Mom set them down. I was only a freshman, just turned fifteen, but I was ready to burst out our front door and start a whole new life. I yearned for and, in my mind, was entirely ready for a new chapter in my life where I would magically become the brilliant, clever, precocious, beautiful, perfect college version of myself. I would finally become the me I had always dreamed of becoming. I would finally be able to do all the things I had dreamed of doing. I would finally have the tools to change my side of the globe.
And now the time has come. The day is coming when I will have to make a choice for what I want, a choice I know will affect what molds and shapes me in the years to come. I won’t just be choosing a building and professors, I will be choosing the friends I will make, the parties I will attend, the place where I work, the chapels I will hear, the education I will receive. I won’t just be choosing a pretty campus; I will be choosing a future.
I’m coming to a fork in the road, and I will be forced to make a choice between the paths that lie ahead of me. I’m not sure that there’s a right or wrong choice, but I do believe that there’s a “best for me” option and a “not-as best for me” option.
And I am afraid. I’m afraid of not choosing the very best choice, of not being able to make friends, of not being able to get good grades, of not being able to create the foundation I will need for a new life of adulthood.
And yet, I am eager. I’m adventurous and optimistic and enthusiastic. I’m the girl who leaps in the air when she has a lightbulb moment, the one that jumps on trains to ride to an unplanned destination. I’m excited, the way I always get when I know change is upon me, and the winds are switching direction and I’m about to embark out into a new ocean. I love to meet new people and see new places, and for that I am not afraid.
But will the people like me? Will the place like me? Can I be so brave as to call this new place, wherever it may be, my new home? Can I let it into my heart the way I’ve let my little brown house in Round Lake Beach be my home for the last seventeen years of my life?
The day is coming when I will choose, and the day will come when I will leave. I’m thrilled, and terrified. And that’s okay.