As I’m in my parents’ blue “mom van” on our way to move into college, I’m absolutely terrified. This is all hidden behind the calm demeanor I’m putting on to comfort my parents as they send their oldest son 930 miles away. I’m not trying to make them more worried than they already are.
However, this feeling of discomfort isn’t foreign. It’s the same thoughts that filled my mind as my mother and I boarded our first plane to emigrate from China to the United States when I was three. This sense of completely changing our surroundings and plunging into a new environment is rushing back at lightning pace.
Once again, I’m challenged with the tasks of getting used to new norms and lingo. From having to Google what office hours is to realizing that I have academic advisors, this turning point parallels the one I’d traversed when I was young.
Living in rural South Carolina for the past 15 years has made me complicit to comfort. It’s easy to predict what happens around here because nothing ever does. And no, as the car passes the state line to North Carolina (the much more exciting Carolina, if I’m going to be honest), I’m loving the idea of change. The prospect of being in an environment that challenges me in new ways is so exciting. Even though the Boston winters aren’t something I’m going to be very fond of, I’ve heard it’s much more pleasant if you’re suffering through it together with others.
And I think in many ways that symbolizes everything I’ve taken away from entering college.
The past few weeks I’ve already made several mishaps. I discovered what common reading was the day before it was due, found out that we had to input ourselves into a lottery for Gen Ed classes the day after the deadline, and missed my first meeting with my entryway because I didn’t know I had a proctor, much less what that was.