The 22-year-old me.

I seriously feel like it was yesterday. It was the day before I went to college. It was late August 2008. My high school boyfriend, a small group of friends and myself had all gone out fishing on a little boat at some state park. It was probably some hillbilly hide-a-way and to this day I cannot remember the name of the park, but I remember it was beautiful. A giant lake surrounded by lush forest, people laughing, gravel parking lots filled with people loading and unloading boats and fishing poles.

It was hot out that day. The sun was shinning. I had on sunglasses, a baseball hat and cut offs. It was the perfect ending to a perfect summer. It was the perfect end to a day that would never happen again. I was going to college the next day and soon everything was going to change. I remember I was  wearing sunglasses that day because I had teared up numerous times and was thankful I had worn them to hide behind. I was so scared. I didn’t want to leave my boyfriend at the time. I didn’t want to leave my friends. I didn’t want to leave my family. A few times I had convinced myself that I just wouldn’t go. Tomorrow wouldn’t come and I could stay on that boat forever…

But the next day came.

My parents and I packed up the car and I picked out my outfit, nervous as could be. What would my dorm look like? What would my roommate be like? Did I even remember what the campus looked like? I had this brand new laptop I didn’t know how to work. I had a Kent State shirt but I didn’t know anything about Kent State. I had these new, huge college textbooks, but didn’t know what my classes were about. I seriously had done nothing to prepare. I had no idea what I was doing in college and I wasn’t even there yet.

But suddenly I was there. Suddenly I had arrived at my dorm. I remember my first moments of college almost like a dream, like a blurry movie with moving objects. I don’t remember what I said to anyone about anything, I just remember being in the moment.  I walked into my dorm, signed in and the next thing I knew my new college roommate was hugging me and introducing me to everyone on my floor. Everyone was hugging, laughing and screaming. Everyone was so excited about a new life here in Kent.

 The next few days went by in a haze. I was meeting tons of new people, going to frat parties for the first time, sitting in a lecture hall for the first time, eating at all the cool on-campus spots for the first time (well, they seemed cool at the time at least.)

Those first few months were some of the best of my life. Everything was so new and exciting and I didn’t know what to expect, but that’s what was so awesome. I was soaking up everything about Kent State and I loved it. I fell in love with my classes, I fell in love with the weekend and college parties and college boys and college friends and college food.

I was so curious about life, about the new experiences that Kent brought. I suddenly just accepted the change my life had encountered and I ran with it, not looking back…just running like hell with it.

And as I sit here with a smile on my face thinking about the young, innocent, 18-year-old Cassandra that showed up to Clark Hall room 333, I think why can’t I be like that again? Why can’t I be the young, curious 22-year-old Cassandra that is excited to start life after college? What is the difference between four years ago and now? Why can’t I have that same enthusiasm, curiosity and excitement for life that I had back in August 2008? What is holding that back?

Although I am not excited to move out of Kent, the small college town that has become my home, I need to try and get excited about the new chapter ahead of me. I might not be excited about walking across that stage on August 11, but I need to get inspired by what I can accomplish. I might not be looking forward to leaving my friends and my college life behind, but it will happen, just like starting college happened even when I didn’t want it to.

The 18 year-old Cassandra wasn’t ready to go to college just like the 22-year-old Cassandra isn’t ready to leave college. But life moves forward and it has the tendency to take you with it, even if you aren’t ready…

The funny thing is, sometimes you really are ready, you just don’t know it yet.

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