It’s been exactly a month. It’s been exactly a month since my mom and sisters said goodbye to me and disappeared out my dorm room. It’s been exactly a month since I sat in this chair for the first time, listening to the faint laughter of dozens of strangers trickling in through the cracks in my door.
These past four-and-something weeks have both flown by and dragged along, leaving me mystified that so much time has already gone by but also slightly discouraged that only so little has already passed. The 450-people chemistry lectures, the 100,000-people football games, the masses of people swarming the sidewalks to get to their classes, this is a far cry from what I was used to as a homeschooled kid.
I’m still in a state of wonder. I still haven’t entirely digested the fact that I’m in college and this is not a summer camp, that I’m here for four years and not four weeks, and that this is where I live now. Only ten percent of the students at UT are from out of state, and whenever I refuse to say “y’all” or in some other way indignantly remind people that my home is in California, my new friends remind me that this is my home now.
And I guess they’re kind of right.
Texas, with its red-roofed academic buildings and disgusting weather, with its beating sun that has blessed me with a cute shorts and sock tan and the need to slather my body with sunscreen every morning, is where I now live.
The other day I passed the spot beneath the giant shadow of the stadium, where I stood back in March and had my very first “wow, I could actually see myself going to this school” moment. This time, six months later, I was decked out in burnt orange, going off to my very first football game as a Texas Longhorn.
The process is slow. Every Snapchat from my sisters and text from my mother and email from my dad reminds me of two months ago, when I was in California and not Texas, in my bedroom and not my dorm room. But while I find joy in these little pieces of home, in the California avocado that my friend mailed me and the Snapchat stories from back in SoCal, I begin to realize the empowering community and the myriad of opportunities waiting for me outside my dorm room.
This is what I had been aching for all throughout senior year and all throughout high school: the clubs, the student orgs, the food and the freedom. I graduated high school solely for the Chick-Fil-A that is now only a couple hundred steps away. I didn’t have Chick-Fil-A right outside my door in California.
And while I still have a couple months to go until I go back home for Thanksgiving, it’s comforting to know that a little piece of my old life, of high school, and of home rests at Baylor with Allison, just a bus ride away.