Four years of college lie behind me.
Four years of studying, reading, playing, stressing, laughing and smiling.
Some days, I think I want to rewind and start over. But that’s just my fear of the future taking over. The truth is, right now is the first time I hold the reins of life in my own hands.
My parents sent me to Holy Family School when I was ready for Kindergarten. They noticed I was bossy and not the best at sharing, so they thought a Catholic education would straighten me out.
It did, for the most part. I got the occasional behavioral notification for talking in church or leaving my starchy uniform polo untucked.
When everyone started talking about which Catholic high school they were going to, my parents told me they had to save money and I had to go to Stow. I was outraged. I didn’t want to leave the friends I’d grown so close to and be thrust into a sea of public school kids. We’d heard the rumors: They did bad things like have sex and smoke cigarettes.
No matter how much I complained, my parents were standing firm on their decision. I would go to Stow.
I had one good friend going to Stow with me, Megan. When we got our class schedules we called each other on the phone and shrieked in delight. We had the same lunch period. I wouldn’t be eating in the bathroom stall.
After four years of public school, I’d made better friends than I could ever imagine. Plus, I didn’t have to go to church every Friday like my Catholic high school friends did.
Senior year came along, and so did another huge decision made for me by my parents. My dad worked at Kent State, so that’s where I’d be going. Free tuition was something I could not pass up. I felt like I was “settling” for Kent State, though. I was jealous of my friends going to faraway schools like The Ohio State University or The University of Cincinnati. Meanwhile, I would stay here, 20 minutes away from where I grew up.
Looking back with older eyes, I’m ashamed of my selfishness. So many people would love to be in my shoes, graduating with no student loans to worry about. I’m also ashamed for putting down Kent State. This place has become my home over the past four years, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Now, as I move into the next period of my life, my parents aren’t making the decisions anymore. I get to choose. It’s both liberating and frightening to step off of the trail and find my own footpath.