I begin this series with mixed emotions. See 15 years ago, I left home at the age of 18 to follow my dreams. Fifteen years later I find myself and my family making our way back to the roots that made me who I am. So here I start with the beginning…my need for wide open spaces. Wide Open Spaces-The Dixie Chicks
At the age of 18, I wanted anything but ordinary, and definitely something bigger than my hometown Oregon, OH. Oregon is a small town on the bay of Lake Erie, and while a nice, wholesome town which boasted a fantastic public education while I was a child, it certainly was far from big city adventurous. Toledo, the city to which Oregon is a suburb, didn’t offer much more and at the time had is own economic struggles, desperately trying to keep the Jeep plant and its jobs locally.
So I looked at my options and following my heart and my favorite Dixie Chicks song, “Wide Open Spaces” and I boarded a plane and moved into a dorm room at Arizona State University. Why Arizona? It was sunny, big, warm year round, close to EVERYTHING, affordable with some student loans even out of state, and 3000 miles away from everything I had ever known. Picture this, blue skies that never end, mountain-scapes in every direction, and mexican food like you’ve never tasted. It was the West, my new home, and it felt good.
Talk about growing up. I knew I’d have to work through school, but I did everything on my own, and I got to do it my way. Sure my parents were super supportive but certainty they couldn’t foot the bill for my education, but they taught me how to do it in my own! For that I’m forever grateful. I watch kids graduating even today without the support of their parents teaching them how to get aid to go to college and it saddens me. I wasn’t a scholarship baby and my parents weren’t made of money but I put a little nose to ground and made it happen.
I loved my life at ASU, sure there were ups and downs but it all builds character and lends way to independence. I wanted anonymity, to be myself with no preconceived notions if I was “cool” or not, if I had a ton of friends or not etc. See college is like starting from scratch, you get to create your adult self there and figure out who you are before you choose who you’ll be for the rest of your life…
In 2003, I proudly graduated with not just one bachelor’s degree, but two, and in 4 years that was quite a feat!
So 4 years down…in the land of sun, stay or go?
Stay tuned for excerpt two.